I have been fascinated with making portraits, especially of women, for over forty years. The work presented in this exhibition is an extension of a ten-year project, “Unburdened Beauty: Nude Portraits of Women in the 21st Century” that resulted in a one person show at the Vermont Center for Photography in 2016. To make these portraits, I utilize view cameras in a range of sizes from 4’x5” to 11”x14” using black and white film or the wet-plate process. The images I make are divided between the studio, where I have complete control over the lighting, and location work, where I can use the subject’s natural environment to help interpret aspects of the subject’s personality.
Important influences on my work include Julia Margaret Cameron, Alfred Stieglitz, Paul Strand and Lotte Jacobi. Lotte Jacobi once said, “Let the subject rule the photograph.” This is a philosophy that I have tried to follow in my own work, allowing the person I am photographing the freedom to shape the image with very little or no direction on my part. I am especially attracted to the 19th century wet-plate process because it allows me to share the tintypes or ambrotypes with the subject as the session progresses, resulting in a truly collaborative process that sometimes takes several hours.
“Maya” 7×5 Ambrotype on Black Glass