It’s an intimate thing, staring closely at someone’s face. Each pore and contour uniquely informed by both lineage and life experience; a landscape of both personal and familial history. It’s a shame we don’t get to make such a close study of our fellow humans very often —
unless you’re hankering for a face full of mace from strangers on the TTC.
“This is why I love portrait photography,” says photo artist Lynne Fox. “I really enjoy the permission to stare. You’re allowed to look at them, take it all in, without anyone being bothered.”
Fox is one of 10 queer artists who will be exhibiting photographic portraits in the upcoming 10×10 exhibition. Now in its third year, 10×10 features 100 portraits that celebrate queer people in the arts, taken by members of our community.
Paul Dymond is another of the photographers whose work will be featured. For his 10 subjects, Dymond employed a rather offbeat method to avoid the studied poses we all spend hours practising in front of the mirror.
“I photographed them all under-water,” Dymond says. “It was about eight inches of bath water, and I told them they had to smile and keep their eyes open. No matter how confident someone is, their composure can change completely when underwater. You get some very revealing images.”
And while portrait photography may not be as dangerous as, say, a National Geographic safari shoot, there are still some risks involved. “I had a real concern that my lighting equipment was going to fall off the shelf and electrocute the person in the bathtub,” Dymond says, laughing. “But maybe that added to the reality in the photos.” — Serafin LaRiviere