The series was inspired by the painting “Brown and Gold”, Self Portrait by James McNeil Whistler from 1898. In the painting the dark background absorbs the face of the whole figure. In my photographic series the darkness of the background dominates the face of the subject, with the perverse effect of making the face more prominent.
I have realized that the presence of dominating, dark background is a challenge to the portrait. In order to be the subject of the photograph the face must overcome that challenge by the direct representation of a mood or emotion. I wanted the viewer to search for the face in this monotone dark 2D space. I didn’t want to create the obvious “look at me portrait” where you see everything the first moment you look at it. To me the result is that of a dark image rather than a dark portrait.
Each subject was chosen for specific features; light, shortish hair, striking eyes, powerful expressions and a pale skin complexion. The subject of each image stares back at the viewer without restraint. This is achieved by my personal acquaintance with each sitter.