Sunday, February 08, 2009

Pioneer Portrait Studio an Unparalleled Success

I can't be more pleased with how Pioneer Portrait Studio came to fruition. I'm thrilled with it. Friends, if your portrait was made you can go pick it up starting tomorrow at your earliest convenience. The International Gallery of Contemporary Art (IGCA) is open Tuesdays through Sundays from noon to 4:00 pm.

Alaskans, if you can make it to the IGCA this month, I encourage you to take photos in front of any, or all, of the backdrops hanging in Pioneer Portrait Studio. Please use the studio for making photographs.

pioneer installation_1850 web

pioneer installation_1842 web

pioneer installation_1840 web

pioneer installation_1838 web

pioneer installation_1856 web


Three backdrops were printed and I chose the one above as the primary portrait background because of the slight slope at the bottom. The choice was based on the more organic shape vs. the severe horizontal "ground meets mountain" going on in the other two.


I was happy with all three images printed, but I really wanted to use the image above as the primary backdrop because of the recognizable peaks in the background. Once I made some initial test shots, I felt that it didn't leave any room for movement in the sitter. And while I looked for there to be a slightly awkward relationship between the sitter and the landscape, that particular image was too stilted for the portraiture.


Of the people who came to get their portrait made, some people were interested in the idea of the impossibility of image as representation of place and the construction and presentation of these images as "real." Some were there to get a portrait made, some came in because they had come to the gallery and wandered in, some people were people who I met and asked to come get a portrait made, some had to come because they were in a high school class that came on a field trip. All in all it can be best described as "great."

The give away prints that I made are dark and cool. I hung the test prints on the walls as well, different white balances, different "exposures." The prints reflect the time of year here and the very long, and very cyan, daybreak and twilight hours. Which, of course, can't be described.


Digression: I adore alliteration and don't care if it's as unsophisticated as exclamation points.


Ian Aleksander Adams said...

This is really really really great. It combines the best of conceptual photography with a fun and useful project for the everyman - get normal people interested in the strangeness, have the strangeness work for everyday people.

You're really bustin out these great projects these days. I'm in awe of you.

Now I feel dirty for having been relentlessly positive in a post on the internet.

Anonymous said...

Hi - I love this project, but have a question. The backdrop you chose seems to be not a mountain, i.e. it is something 'wrapped' or covered in fabric. Maybe this is deliberate, but you don't seem to mention it. Could you elaborate on what/where this shot was taken? All the portraits are fine, but they look strange with this fabric covered background.

gree c. said...


This series is just beautiful.
Wish I could have seen all 200 in person.
Wish I was in Alaska.