I’ve always kept my distance towards portraiture in photography and thought “man, I really don’t like doing that”. Having done a few portraits already, I realize that there were two reasons I was not inclined towards this faction of photographic practice. The first reason is that while living in London, my most common place to practice portraiture when practiced, was the studio. Boring. I did not go from studying Chemistry to Photography to stay inside a studio (or laboratory) for many hours a day and not enjoy the fresh air and sun. The reasonable alternative to the studio then, became the city where I live in. Central London, Zone 1. Impossible again, too many people, no engagement with anyone, everyone is always in a rush, and people are too self aware and paranoid. There is always something dodgy about a photographer who wants your photograph these days. That’s how I feel about it.
I’ve always done portraits of people I know. I feel that the intimacy generated, and the connection that is created from what the sitter wants, and how I want to shoot the portrait, always culminates in an interesting photograph (Matthew, Bristol, UK). It is true that as Avedon and Soth have said that portraits say more about the photographer (and the spectator), their reaction towards the “sitter”, than the person portrayed. But then again, I’ve always thought that my friends are my friends because I see something of them in me, or something of me in them, so in this way, portraiture can say more about the “sitter” than conventionally it is thought to.
On the other hand, I wanted to say that I am now inclined to portrait photography. Last week I was around Manchester shooting for my new project on the Mancuspia and approached some people randomly. It was the first time I really felt comfortable photographing someone who’m I didn’t know (English Boy, Holmes Chapel, UK), and didn’t spend much time with either. It was the curiosity that drove both the person being photographed and myself to a short relationship and interaction that I admittedly enjoyed. I will continue doing portraits.