I recently heard about the idea that in portraiture there is an inherent power relationship. The artist is dominant over the submissive subject. I attracted to this idea though I’m not necessarily committed to it. What does this mean regarding the fact that I recently arranged some portraiture sessions of myself for use as subject matter for my paintings? I am the submissive or the dominant..or I can genuinely switch between these roles?
The logistics were tricky being both model and art director (though the photographer will argue that “I” wasn’t the art director but that’s a conversation that is only going to go around and around unsatisfactorily in circles). Clearly I’m not the first, nor will I be the last actor/director or model/stylist. There certainly was a sense of giving up control and trusting the photographer’s artistic eye. Do I really trust them? I have to. I don’t have any other choice.
Anyone who knows me will understand my frustration at NOT being in control of all the variables. (Actually at this point I’m thinking that I need to learn how to use a camera and do some basic post production of the image. I’ll just add that to my to do list, shall I?....) Though I have heard that I can affect a convincing laissez-faire attitude.
Of course, that’s only the initial stage. After dealing with copious amounts of my feedback and having been sent the edited images, I switch roles. I’m no longer submissive. I’m in charge, on top!
And that’s where the story stops for now.
I’m unwell in bed, on the couch but most importantly not in the studio. My head is swimming with ideas and my soul is uplifted by so many positives that have recently come into my life and I could push my body and throw myself into the studio but there’s no rush. I’m going to be an artist for the rest of my life. I want to get well, renew my energy and go forwards from there.