29 January 2011

Magda & Kiro

14" x 17", ink and wash on bristol board, 2006

I'm in the midst of working on fifteen twelve portraits for a show this summer and I was thinking about posed portraits vs candid portraits. Once again, I'm working from my own photo ref for the new series, but all of the shots are more or less posed-for (unpredictable animal companions notwithstanding).

About a decade ago, I was pretty keen on taking my trusty point-and-shoot film camera with me to social events and family get-togethers and trying to shoot candid pictures by reaching out my arm and roughly aiming the camera at the desired subjects. This was one of those cameras that didn't take a second to auto-focus, so the picture snapping was instantaneous. Unfortunately, since the aim was only accurate less than half of the time, most of the pictures shot this way leave out too much of the desired subject or are just plain useless, leaving me with tons of garbage prints.

Sometimes I get pure gold.

This painting is based on a photo of my aunt Magda and uncle Kiro (taken at one of the dozens of Christenings that seemed to be happening every month back at the turn of the century). It captures a beautifully perfect illustration of their relationship: Kiro may have just cracked a joke that Magda thinks isn't too funny ("Ah, come on...") --but she's smiling, indicating that, yeah, it is funny. They're always gently ribbing each other (as our whole family does), but I feel this also shows a loving aspect as well (but maybe that's because I know them so well).

I honestly don't remember what was actually said when I snapped the photo, but when I developed the roll and saw this, I felt it was worth a hundred dud pics. I think this portrait of my aunt and uncle is a thousand times better than anything I could capture if I had posed them.
It's also a great likeness of the two.

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