Portraits in the Age of Truth
This morning I watched a breakfast interview with Nicole Kidman, and couldn’t help myself from scrutinizing her face for evidence of surgery, touch ups, and any perceivable credence that she has made attempt to surgically sustain her youth. I was not judging her for choices to remain young on camera, I think all humans have that desire, but moreso, in the back of my mind I wondered about the human condition to remain youthful, and the level of honesty we seek and share with others, about how we age and why we choose to share or conceal our true age and stories.
Now more than ever we live in an age where truth is the flavour of the month. Wikileaks, banker bonuses, priestly secrets bubbling to the surface, MP’s making passes, the list goes on. But how about or personal truths? What age is she? What are his vulnerabilities? Things I personally like to see in a good portrait.
Looking at the portraits of Martin Schoeller, we see work that reveals stark truths about his subjects, with strong lighting and a frame that is all about face. His subjects are very close up and prints normally quite large. We see every detail in a person’s face, and if there is a mask, we see it very closely, and are brought to wonder about what is underneath it, if the subject is indeed not just the mask itself. In the studio he sits about 4 or 5 feet away from the subject with a longer lense so the sitter has a sense of personal space, however the photo reveals an intimate distance, one we rarely find even with close friends.
Here is a small selection of my favorite works of Schoeller, most of which were taken for the New York Times.