Tuesday, March 31, 2015

John and Jane Doe's

Photo: Arne Svenson
Photo: Arne Svenson
I love portraiture and history, both are about trying to get something right that concerns a certain amount of mystery- whether real, or imagined. It's never all that easy, and usually considerably harder than it ever even suggests. How much is ever really known, how much can ever be revealed?

History tries to solve the enigma through exhaustive research, documentation, personal accounts. Portraiture purportedly ties to reveal an inner mystery through overt physical appearance and gesture. Of course, either method concerning either genre is limited in both its scope and its ability to divulge any definitive, meaningful truth. But that never does stop anyone from trying...

Arne Svenson attracted a lot of attention for his essay on anonymous people photographed through the windows of their homes. But he's a lot more than just some perv with a camera as some people would have you think, and once you see his Unspeaking Likeness series, you begin to see the common theme of identity that runs through much of his work. These portraits are more than mere conjecture, they are based on recreations from actual physical evidence- and are probably more accurate in capturing their physical likeness than any photographic portrait is capable of capturing any (living) subject's "inner self."

Painting: Sarah Honan

Sarah Honan's Blink explores much the same ground, except from a painterly perspective, again addressing the mystery of persons unknown- people whose lives and histories have been lost to us, a nameless representation of their likeness all that remains of their earthly wanderings...

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