The images in your current show, Broken Manual,Â convey a sense of extreme distance between you and your subjects – much more so than your previous work. Will you tell us about this shift?
A portrait doesnâ€™t necessarily reveal the soul of the sitter– the final picture is as much about the photographer (and the viewer) as it is about the subject. Iâ€™ve often said that when I make a portrait what Iâ€™m really photographing is the space between the sitter and myself.
In the case of Broken Manual, I really wanted to extend that space. The work is about distance and the longing for separation.
How do you make the decision to remove a subject or object from the context?
Every photograph of mine removes a subject or object from context– Iâ€™m not a big believer in documentary truth.
Everything happening outside of the frame is also lost: sound, smell, and most importantly time. If anything, photography is the art of stripping the world of its context. But of course, one does this to various degrees. With Broken Manual, I wanted to make something fragmentary and, well, broken. So I varied my approach from picture to picture.
How does removing these elements help to create the image that you see, regardless of the context surrounding it?
The idea of escape is a beautiful fantasy, but in reality it isnâ€™t functional. We need other people, but it is still fun to fantasize. Last weekend my five-year-old son made a cardboard house– he was lone pirate in that house, but a few hours later he needed Mommy. Most of us arenâ€™t much different.
Do you feel exposed when having a big opening of your work?
Iâ€™ve never been more nervous for a show than this one, and Iâ€™ve been trying to figure out why. I donâ€™t think it is about my relationship with the subjects, it has to do with something more personal. I joke that Broken Manual is my midlife crisis projectâ€¦but it isnâ€™t such a joke.