I entered art school with a longing to photograph truth; Initially I aspired to pursue, cut and dry, photojournalism. And then I happened upon photographers such as Nan Golden who understood photography as an opportunity to reveal portraits of the less palatable side of truth—a photojournalistic biography of the underbelly and the so-called freaks. Another inspiration is Sophie Calle, who includes photography and typography within her autobiographical (though often fictitious) story-telling accounts. Cindy Sherman has also emerged as a source of inspiration, especially her invented identities and egos within the series titled, Untitled Film Stills. I have come to the conclusion, photography carries much broader potential for narrative injections.
My need for this project is to pursue my deep unquenchable passions. Photography is a defining force for me; I feel most at ease when behind a camera, (not to mention in front of the camera.) And I now consider the marriage of graphic design with photography and opportunity to dive into the world of fine art.
I am longing to position my project around the portrait. The reasons for this are many; I am captivated by the soul penetrating portraiture of such artists as Man Ray, Annie Leibovitz, Robert Mapplethorpe, Felix Gonzales-Torres, as well as the autobiographical and ego/alter ego exploration others such as of Cindy Sherman, Sophie Calle, Nan Golden, Pipilotti Rist…. After being exposed to rhetoric possibilities, I feel like a secret weapon ready to am and fire at photographic narrative pursuits.
For my social objective, I would like to encourage others to reconsider the idea surrounding the portrait as a possibility to to flavor with narrative and layers of meaning. Truth is not always the goal. The addition of graphic design elements will serve to complement as well as contradict narrative. In my opinion, the existing view of the portrait is occasionally a simple and carelessly rendered smile and cheese, in and out experience. I am thirsting for more.
My primary message would be to communicate that the incorporation of graphic design to a portrait can elevate the narrative. I long to expand and contradict the real or perceived “truth” surrounding the image.
My “concerned” audience would include art enthusiasts and those that frequent the art show scene, as a longing for this project would be a gallery show.
For this project to function, I will require interesting personalities—models. I will employ experimental methods of graphic design that include topics of rhetoric to expand the idea surrounding the portrait.
The competitive landscape includes high profile photographers and artists that will serve as both inspiration as well as a leaping point to test and combine possible methods.