Motion Picture Portraiture
I’ve always been in love with portraiture. Every face is different, but almost more interestingly, every face moves differently. Every face has its own language, tendencies, ticks, nuance, shine, and blast. You can hear voice in a person’s facial expressions. What’s most beautiful is when you can see shifts, see the person actually thinking — see that wave of process, inquiry, discovery emerge as a whole landscape is mapped out for you through subtle shifts of eyes, in relation to mouth in relation to shoulders, and so forth.
I began this portraiture series about a year ago. I started with seven subjects, have added four more (including myself) and am slowly working toward a body of work made up entirely of the human face, in action. They are a collaborative effort between me and cinematographer James Fideler, (also the director of photography and my producing partner on Music of the Hemispheres). All of the subjects thus far are personal friends of mine, and I think that makes a big difference. The idea is to have candid conversation, shoot it all at high frame rates and then play with the palate of gestures they offer in moment-to-moment conversations. I loop different slices of gestures, suspend moments of time, and also just stare.
The clip above is my dear friend Silvia + Franz Schubert. We were having a hilarious conversation about a new boy she was dating at the time. I then select a song, purely on instinct: one face + one song, and cut from beginning to end. A dancer friend of mine once called it: choreography of the face.
Here is Jason + Edith Piaf:
My dream is to assemble enough portraits to put together a feature length musical, made up of all human faces… to construct a whole narrative of gesture.
Here is a kind of “mix tape” assembled from four portraits:
Courtney + Beat Happening, Jeff + Françoise Hardy, Tony + Glenn Branca, Jason + Edith Piaf