through the looking glass


Portrait by Emma Bergmeier-Varian
Photo by Emma Bergmeier-Varian

Portraiture has always been a genre of art that fascinates me. Holbein's The Ambassadors with its exquisite technique, complex imagery & visual trickery was one the first pieces that really captured my attention, but I've since come to appreciate contemporary portraits in all shapes and forms (David LaChapelle has some doozies, Ben Quilty's almost impressionist After Afghanistan series is superb & I hang out for the Archibald every year - while it is, admittedly, overwhelmingly aimed at crowd pleasing, it offers an interesting cross section of non-traditional styles). In this world of profile pictures I find myself analysing the photos that accompany bylines in newspapers & magazines, and one quickly realises that a portrait is not merely a flattering snap of someone. Indeed, often they aren't especially flattering! But the good ones say something, and that is what appeals. A portrait is(/should be) a tool that communicates an attitude, a personality, a set of values or a single, strong idea with visuals alone...those of you who have met me know I'm more of an observer than a talker, so I'll take a picture over a thousand words any day.

This portrait is from a project I helped Emma from Dropstitch with - it actually didn't make the final cut, but I think what she's captured is pretty true-to-form, and really like the somewhat-awkward expression (aided by creepy purple eyebrows, probably won't be doing those again). I like to think of it as studious confusion, how my point of view causes me to challenge so much of what I see in the world...never was one for fitting in. Thanks Em, I will treasure this!


margaretvspauline said...

I generally love photos of myself that capture an awkward expression, and they sometimes even become my profile pictures for things around the internet. It's an easy way to show that you don't take yourself too seriously. I refer to them as 'derp' photos.

Stacy said...

Great shot! Even though I don't know you in person I get a feel for this photo and what I've come to know as your personality. So, if this is a good representation of you then you do a mighty good job representing the real you on the Interwebs. If that makes any sense.