Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Portraiture Project: Complications, Rising Action

Well, I don't have anything to show for this project that I'm proud of yet. Of course, I never do at this point. All of my projects consist of a long period of unhappy bungling and picture after picture that I don't like at all, before taking the one or two pictures I actually like at the last minute and by weird chance through hard work and determination. I'm having problems with my process, though. I haven't yet had a chance to follow a single person through some daily routines yet, which is what I really intended for this project, but I tried taking pictures of my friends. The problem is that I did my artist presentation on Diane Arbus, and I wanted weird, disconcerting. Disconcerting is really the key word for this project. I am going to use that word into the ground. Anyway, I wasn't planning on joining a nudist colony so the idea of following some kind of daily routine was important. Diane Arbus has a lot of pictures where a fairly normal situation gives you the same disconcerted feeling as the "freaks" and that was what I was going to do. I couldn't really pull this off while hanging out with my friends, because I kind of like them, and it would be hard to portray hanging out in sinister light unless I absolutely hated them. Hence the importance of shadowing someone.

I will probably do some of that later this week and more over the weekend. But I needed a little more to show for my contact sheet, so for my second attempt I tried a different tack.

"I like my friends too much," I thought, "That is my weakness. But who am I afraid of? Of course! Everyone! They're out there living lives of quiet desperation right now, aren't they?" And so I went out and took a picture of this guy. And that was all, because it started raining very abruptly and rather heavily, and I had to go inside because my camera is worth money I don't have.
If I had more time, I could have probably improved on this picture--I wasn't even close to the subject when I took it. But I like it pretty well as it is; it was already starting to rain, and the picture is cramped and rushed in a way that compliments the man's awkward pose. It also reminds me of Arbus's A Family on Their Lawn One Sunday in Westchester, N.Y. 1968:

It's just, you know, not as good.
So I think taking pictures of strangers has some potential. I don't think I will do any more of it, however, because people freak me out and make me nervous and are jerks about being photographed. I was actually a bit relieved when it started raining. So I went home and tried some more things. This is getting lengthy, though, so let's say TO BE CONTINUED

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