Light Pen Portraits
"There is an element of showmanship that lightens the solemn procedure of creating portraiture in this way. A darkened room and black velvet drapes lend a sense of gravitas to the occasion. The camera is placed low setting up an intimate relationship between the photographer, the lens and the sitter. My subjects are my friends and family. They remain stock still while he runs a fine beam of light over their features, quickly picking out knees, knuckles and noses. Deftly isolating them from the dark backdrop, transcribing their figures unseen to the confines of the camera. While still using digital technology, in one sense the technique marks a return to the pioneering days of early portrait photography when subjects had to hold a pose for 10 to15 minutes. The experience is a little like going for a CT scan. Familiar characteristics are re-interpreted by the process. Eyes are obscured and feet appear disproportionately large. The final image remains mysterious to sitter and photographer alike, as the figure is revealed only at the point it is printed. Like a drawing by Giacometti, a soft web of trace lines left by the light pen describes the space each figure occupies. The intimacy of the process ensures the character of each sitter is apparent while they maintain almost complete anonymity." Paul Barratt
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