There’s a big difference between the face you see in the mirror and what you have the potential to see in a photograph. It’s not a matter of reflection – what you see with the eyes. It’s not about beauty, or lack of, it’s not about aging, or transition, or change, it’s about showing up and being WILLING to be seen by an other. There’s a great power and liberation in that.
It takes courage to submit to such a reveal, again and again, as Amy Glynn has here. She has not asked for a portrait, she’s asked for a documentary SERIES of portraits. It’s possible to learn things about oneself from this process. And in this sense she is the purest client I’ve ever had, and the one who comes closest to understanding what I hope to do in my photography – reveal an ineffable truth through form.
We live in an age of distance and separation that belies our technologies of connection. But what seems like the rise of a narcissist generation is, in my opinion, a natural reaction to the emptiness of it all. There’s a reason why we’re now in the Golden Age of the image, why the Selfie has become so prevalent and powerful. It’s not that we need to be seen and recognized by others. It’s that we need to be seen and recognized by ourselves.
Amy doesn’t realize it, but she’s helped me more than I helped her (assuming I helped her at all). That’s how I know we did this ‘right’. This was a remarkable project, and that she is willing to share it is a testament to the idea. The Orchard Project, as I came to call it, turned out to be a powerful exercise in vulnerability and self-discovery. Taking these pictures has helped me to know myself.
Knowing oneself, however, is the journey of a lifetime. A year in an orchard isn’t nearly enough. But it’s through journeys like these that we accelerate our understanding.
That understanding however is not concrete. At best there is but a vague sense of this knowing. It is a knowledge of the heart, not the mind. Our eyes are somehow connected to this. The truth is revealed beneath ultraviolet waves whose patterns we can see like bees.
o O o