Before starting my portrait project, I looked primarily to the work of Edouard Boubat for inspiration. I like the way that he often obscured the identity of his subject either through shadow or distance or reflection. Due to this practice, his photos often carry an aura of mystery, drama, and conflict. I also like how he framed his subjects in doorways or windows, letting the scenery dictate cropping.
In addition to Boubat, I found myself drawn to a picture of oozing cheese by Irving Penn. Although not a human face, this image suggested something to me about portraiture, about taking the concrete and then capturing an encapsulated essence that seems “true.”
Truth is a concept that this project forced me to contemplate at length. I attempted to understand my subject, but I have the nagging feeling that I only photographed in him what I recognized in myself: a darkness and a vulnerability. The camera, it seems, strips me, leaving me a messy ball of exposed innards.