Viewers often manage to ignore the arrangements lurking behind staged portraits. That is, even knowing all too well that the poses in a portrait arrive from directions given by the photographer, this consciousness is suppressed in the act of looking. Sometimes, however, the theatrical setup is a significant part of the concept, as has been the case in two prominent projects: Leon Borensztein’s American Portraits and Richard Renaldi’s Touching Strangers. The differing methods with which American Portraits and Touching Strangers have come together might not make for an obvious comparison, yet it is interesting to consider if the intimacy we perceive from either series evaporates as soon as we pause to consider their making. What happens once we become aware of the way in which the portraits have been established? Does it matter to know if the interactions between the models are genuine or not?
Read full article in GUP #49