“When you make a portrait of someone it involves you. You can take pictures of models, or pictures of pretty boys, and it’s just about you looking at something. It wasn’t until I was comfortable with myself that I started to make pictures of people who are really close to me. ” – Paul Mpagi Sepuya
The idea of portraying truth in an image seems to come naturally to the masters of photography and contemporary artists alike. Whether the portrait presents a family member who has passed, or the face of a familiar stranger, we acknowledge the human connection existing between viewer and the viewed. A portrait can reveal so much information about a person, so I understand why a lot of thought would go into its execution. It’s a noble endeavor that is also voluntary. I feel that this innate desire to represent someone in his or her own honest nature becomes somewhat problematic, because ultimately it is a contrived representation. There is a point where truth becomes irrelevant, and in its absence, I am more interested with the possibility of creating a narrative to establish that connection. Whether I am able to recognize my sister’s face in a photograph or the person she clearly is not, can only encourage a deeper interaction that requires one to draw from memory or some place other than the one which is presented.