There were one-hundred-eighty-five portraits made. That statement is just a crack in the door. Why? The question is begged and I have replied a few different things. But that is not relevant to what happened to me.
What happened to me was unexpected. 185 people, all in a specific time of their lives, sat, all willing and some eager to be part of Face to Face. Some were complete strangers whom I now can greet and say hi. Some were people I had a preconceived notion of who they were from some other time or event that was completely wrong. Those were folks I was surprised to find them wanting to do this thing, have their portrait made by me. I realized if I was going to sit opposite that person, I had to throw out what I knew with all my prejudices and get on with the portrait.
That was my life changer.
By finding a way of scrubbing out preconceived ideas I became more open. It took me until the fourth month of the project to stop talking about myself and the project and turn the questions back to the sitter. It was hard work not to second guess where anyone was coming from in conversation. About that time my head, heart started opening to the real human element of the project. It was a very public place sitting there in Compass Printing yet all kinds of subjects were discussed. People would sit for two hours and we would talk.
From this opening in my head I was allowed to see my sitter better. As the project progressed, so did the seeing of the person and my ability to capture not just a likeness but also that particular space in time. The days mindset of the individual began to emerge in the work.
When Face to Face is finally hung, that will be a high point in the project. Even as the maker of all these portraits I have not yet seen all of them at one time. The story of the faces looking back at me, the progress in my work and my head is going to show. But I have no idea what that will look like.
Seeing them all looking back, that is what is in it for me.
Two Days to go.