Some portraits of the landlord’s dog appeared in my mind and I thought I would make them. I could only fail, or my pictures would be false, and the sun would still rise from the east the next day. Can I call pictures of dog portraits? Is portraiture an exclusive noun for humans? Won’t the perfect writers and professional photographers roast me now?
Named General, the dog embarrasses all visitors and embraces all occupants of the compound, licking and running around in circles. I watch this animal as it runs, I see a hunter, happy with deadly teeth, my circumstantial friend. The run is to welcome me, but this skill will be used to devour the intruder.
The eventualities of many portrait sessions are set for failure right from the outset; the photographer is trapped in his knowledge and memory and can’t see what’s in front of him. The failure may be fine for both subject and artist because they might not have known the difference anyway. What he has is his reflection and not necessarily his subject’s. Well, there’s an argument again, that all the pictures you make are your self-portraits, regardless of your subject, that you just draw yourself out of a universe. When you give the same subject to different photographers they come out with different pictures. Philosophy is for the gap between work and rest; one must keep in a chosen direction.
Good, true photography is challenging, the photographer must be totally aware, almost a witness. Some days you have well-defined plans, as you are ready to start work, a make-up artist, your guide, a stray man or the carpenter might give you a great idea that all plans can only be stuck to by sticking to your ego.
Portraiture, I think is a quest. It is an endeavor to understand your subject through observation, using a camera as a device and collecting your result in a frame. It happens that you write a book to understand a topic, so it is that we create images to understand our subjects. A captured portrait is not open up for piece-wise discussions or understanding; it is a personal bridge, it is an interaction of artist and subject in a fraction of time. I am not sure neither do I really care if the pictures are true or good, it does not matter, what matters is I did the day’s work and I applied all I am. Each task with its demands, hopefully as we go along we will create truer pieces.