Recently I was able to shoot outdoors with a new model. I’ve had this unexplainable desire to make more environmental portraits, as an extended exploration of my Formula of Feeling series. Perhaps it’s a phase that I’m going through, or maybe I haven’t looked at enough Rineke Dijkstra or Justine Kurland images to discourage these naive but honest pursuits. When I can make a portrait of atmosphere or presence without having to focus on a body, I am absolutely drawn to the quiet tension that is produced as a result of the presence of life. It’s like standing right in front of someone but staring at their neck. The anticipation that lingers is immense, despite the lack of physical activity occurring within the scene. They may not be your traditional headshots, but I definitely regard them as portraits of feelings rather than the documentation of facial mapping. I hope that counts.
I’m still trying to identify where exactly this interest is coming from. I’ve always believed in something called the Almost Perfect. It is being granted the ultimate indulgence accompanied by the most charming restriction; it is impossible to show resentment, but more practical to settle on a compromise. It’s like how music communicates emotion without influencing you with the vanity of words, but instead lulling you with the appeal of transcendence. It could also be like watching a recording of a forest fire but in slow motion: you anticipate the outcome, you have enough information to formulate the sequence, but there is something preventing its fluidity or its fulfillment.