Dark Silver II: 12X is the second installment in the new series devoted to portraits made with traditional black & white film and processed in the darkroom. For the new set of portraits, a series of parameters were created to provide a framework for the portraits. Photographs were made in the studio with a twin lens reflex (TLR) medium format camera, under a similar lighting scheme utilizing continuous hot lights and a seamless backdrop, and each subject was limited to one roll of film (12 exposures). Then, an enlarged proof sheet was created in the darkroom from each roll of film, and each proof sheet is displayed as part of an installment of the entire set of portraits. As a result, each and every shot taken of each subject can be seen; nothing was edited out. Subjects were given a limited set of instructions for posing, and were then walked through a series of gestures or expressions. Some brought props or costumes, others simply brought their faces, and all of the subjects were volunteers for the project. I did not ask anyone directly to pose, they all reached out to me via social media after seeing my call for models. In this way, each subject brought their own expectations and willingness, as all were advised of the parameters. Both subject and photographer were bound by the same expectations and committed to use every single shot created. After I had enlisted and photographed 24 subjects, I ended the call for models and therefore had to use every single subject. I believe that process both informs and forms aesthetic, so defining a very strict process creates the style and substance of these particular portraits, as well as determining the overall style of the finished work. The deliberateness and commitment to 12 shots of 24 people, the lighting, the willingness and trust of the subjects, and the final layout and format of the giant proof sheets define the project. From the photographer’s point of view, the very idea of showing each and every image created is somewhat of an anathema. So the concept is even more of an issue of trust of my own self and skills than of the subject. The desire for control of the final image is contradicted by the commitment to reveal every shot. 12X is on view at Mastroianni Photography and Arts starting March 13, with an opening reception from 6-9PM. Additional hours and reception times will be posted soon.
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