We had our first almost cool days in Austin this week. A window open during the day, a cooler breeze. I seem to be waking up from the summer back to wanting to take pictures too. I can feel that old, familiar itch in the finger. My brain has started picking over project ideas, finding inspiration here and there and wanting to start putting some pictures together. I don't think I'm quite ready for another SoFoBoMo sprint, but I do feel the motivation coming back. Perhaps it is part of getting better and the promise of more mobility, or maybe just that it isn't so damn hot outside.
I've been fascinated by projects that get the subjects to share something of themselves to the viewer. Often this takes the form of a tablet, mini-white board or sign that gets attached to the portrait, or held in the hand. I don't really know why these capture my imagination so much - you are given a very tiny window into the subject, beyond just how they appear in the portrait. It might be true, it might be false, but that extra insight feeds the nosiness and curiosity about people that I have. At the same time, I wonder if it is more of a gimmick than an insight. Perhaps something more straight up, direct and honest is called for. John Setzler has used this approach to good effect, with his Tell The World SoFoBoMo project, and others. The I Am project for Art City Austin (some shots above) was another enjoyable project to view.
At the same time, I just watched this 5 minute documentary on Avedon's portraits. Nothing clever here, just great portraits, cleanly done. Then, at the end of the documentary, a link to another. An interview with Frank Warren. More food for thought. People sharing secrets, anonymously via the mail. But would these people share so apparently deeply, with their picture attached? A quick search found Frank's blog where he posts some of the more interesting secrets he receives. I now realise I've seen this before, but maybe needed to see it again, now. Even if this doesn't go anywhere, I'm at least thinking up ideas. I may even dust off the red nose this weekend and take some portraits.