Posted on July 18, 2014
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Our founder Edwina Dunn found this quote from photographer Martin Schoeller in October's issue of National Geographic a few days ago, and we wanted to share it with you.
What does a face mean? Why do we connect so strongly with portraits of faces? How do our backgrounds distinguish us, and in what ways are we fundamentally the same? He's really tackled it all in these few lines. Take a read:
"I love the intimacy of a close-up portrait because it captures the essence of a person: Its not about their clothes or their environment - there are no hints of social status. Everything is summed up in the face. I may take 40, 50, 100 pictures of a person, and the one I like best is when the face hasn't caught on to the next expression the brain wants it to make. I like building catalogs of faces that invite people to compare them. We have an idea of what the human eye - or the nose or the lip - is supposed to look like. But when you compare 10, 20, 100 sets of eyes, you see how different they are. I take pictures of people from such varied backgrounds and cultures and ethnicities, but in the end we're all just human beings. I may photograph the President one day and a homeless person a week later..."
But this is the bit we really liked:
"...I want to challenge the way we use appearance to shape identity."
How does appearance shape identity - and can we challenge our preconceptions? Take a look at some of his photographs on Google. They are fascinating Brad Pitt and Barack Obama rub shoulders with the kind of people you dash past on your way to the tube. They all follow a near-identical template, and the similarites and unmistakeable differences between thousands of faces are simultaneously so clear to the viewer.
What do you think? Tweet us at @whatiseeproject and let us know which of his photos is your favourite, and why.
Image source - Flickr: Elliott Bennett