Do you think you can define the term portrait?
“Yeah I mean traditionally we would understand that as being a representation of a person wouldn’t we, but you know one of these things we are doing in our classes is to challenge these ideas and try to think more broadly about things. So when i talk quite comfortably about making portraits of a relationship or a portraits of a person or of a group of people. What we are talking about here is really telling a story about this person rather than being a definitive representation of their identity, what we are saying by this is that we can’t do that, that in fact i am going to talk about my relationship about with this person.”
To you what should a portrait include to be a portrait?
“Without being too annoying, if you get commissioned by a magazine to do a portrait of someone and you go back with a picture of their watch then they probably won’t be that chuffed about it. And so, you know traditionally most people would assume when you talk about a portrait you are going to do a representation of a person. But i think one of the most powerful portraits that i show is the picture of a watch. I mean i describe that as being a portrait of somebody’s father, as that was the thing the five year old would look at on his fathers wrist as he held his hand and it was at eye level and you know he couldn’t remember what his Father looked like but he knew what his watch looked like. Now the fact that all he has got left is the watch and the story of how he gets that watch is sort of very powerful and moving, the fact that the watch represents his Father and his relationship with his Father, i think thats really, that for me is a portrait,so its a portrait of a relationship, others might say it’s a still life or what ever it is, but when you put it in that context then it becomes a portrait of a relationship.”
What do you think should be portrayed in a portrait?
“Well I think I have covered that in the first two questions. Really it is your take on a relationship, so that maybe you meet someone for only five minutes and you you discuss that relationship or describe it with your pictures, it maybe the case that you have known them all your life and you’ll perhaps do a different sort of image in order to describe your relationship and the way you see that person.”
Would say that there are any factors that could misinterpret a portrait, like how they are acting within an environment?
“If you have a clear statement to make then make it clear, with strong images. If your not sure and exploring a question then thats going to come through in the image and probably present more problems than answer for the viewers. You know this idea of misinterpretation you know you think the onus is on the author to explain themselves really carefully. It’s no good putting images out there and saying oh you didn’t get it, you should have education yourself in order to appreciate my art. You have to engage the audience and win them over and explain clearly what the message is, at times it’s going to be a documentary story and other times it’s going to be a portrait so as I say for this idea of misinterpretation i would perhaps say the onus for people to interpret your images as would have them interpret is down to the author not the viewer.