I would rather strip naked and pose in the middle of a Manhattan avenue than have a picture of my face taken. That said, here I am in all of my unvarnished glory. This photograph was taken by Bruce Janklow and the process and final outcome is the direct opposite of the Photoshop process; this is hyperrealism.
Bruce Janklow, on his way to Georgia and Armenia as I write this, is a true world traveler and photographer. To see some of his work, look here. Usually, when he shoots people, he takes what he calls street portraits. Like most street photography, it’s quick and dirty. Two strangers, one with a camera, engage or not, for a few seconds.
This picture of me is a departure. Bruce says:
“I got to wondering what would happen if I actually got to collaborate with subjects, got to know them a bit and was able to take my time? How different would the results be and would I be able to capture something special?”
Bruce and I met one hot day this summer to take my picture. On our walk to Central Park, we talked about ourselves and what we are currently doing. We found a bench and talked some more. Bruce began to take some pictures of me. Generally speaking, I’m a lousy model. In front of a camera, I’m self-conscious, inhibited, and awkward. I take cues like a robot. And I have always believed that I’m not photogenic.
Needless to say, this experience was both intense and challenging. It was hot, and I was tired from lack of sleep. The photographer was up close and someone I didn’t really know. Nevertheless, I loved this experience and I believe that Bruce did capture something special. This is the real, real me.
I look at this picture and I think that maybe I shouldn’t have slicked my hair back? I did it purposefully, to show my whole face. I look at the bags under my eyes and think how ironic it is that I’m not prone to having bags under my eyes, usually.
I could go on and on, picking apart every square inch of my face, as I’m sure we all can.
But what’s the point? There are some decidedly ungraceful aspects of aging. I refuse to be sappy and nostalgic about it. I want to look it right in the face. This is the real real.
Would you take part in this process?