Darkness - A Portrait Project
This project developed as a task in the first year of my photography foundation degree.
It was surprisingly liberating to photograph myself and looking at the resultant pictures gave me the idea to try to convey the crushing effect of some of the events in my life of the last few years, the resultant losses, the frustration, the onset of visible ageing, the acknowledgement that another year has passed and I still haven’t lost the weight, the list goes on…
The photographs in this project are a series in two parts. One concentrates on the face, the other the body. The panoramic aspect ratio and black ground for the subject creates a negative space; this represents for me a sort of lost-ness, obscurity and melancholy. The skin tones were partially de-saturated to add to the feeling of a sort of sad beauty. It somehow hides the imperfections in the skin and highlights it at the same time - the viewer at a distance sees little detail, but the viewer may be drawn closer to find the detail.
The image from the set that really epitomises the series for me , is “Push” (the first image, below). As soon as I saw this image (in its original, straight out of camera form) I had quite a visceral reaction to it. What is the hand doing? Is it raising the face to the light, helping, lifting? Or is it pushing the subject (me) helpless, backwards into the black void. The eyes being closed could represent a helpless innocence, or a helplessness. Is it my hand? The cropping makes it slightly ambiguous.