of My Friends, in Their Death Shroud, with Their Favorite/Most Important
Possessions" (1995-1997), is the third installment in my Portrait
of My Friends series. The idea of the Shroud came to me as I looked
through an art magazine that had a picture of "The Dead Christ,"
a life-size statue at a church in Italy. I thought about all of the
cultures who buried their dead with various artifacts for various
reasons, a custom we no longer practice. I told my friends to pick
a few things that are either important to them or that they'd want
people to associate with their lives, and then posed them on a constructed
I began The
Portrait of My Friends series in 1980 with "A Portrait of
My Friends from the Neck to the Knees." Three Polaroid SX-70's
were taken of each person and mounted side by side. No faces were
shown and my friends were encouraged to wear things that the public
would never see them inlingerie, sleepwear, nude, etc. Without
knowing who you're looking at, the viewer becomes a voyeur and the
poser, retaining complete anonymity, becomes an exhibitionist. This
series still continues.
The second series,
which began in 1992 and finished in 1994, was titled "A Portrait
of My Friends with the Favorite Part of Their Body." I photographed
each person's favorite body part, printed it, and hung it behind them
on the "set." Each person sat in the same chair in the same
set, only their body part and their interaction with the camera were
different. There are 12 images in this series.
The fourth series
takes place in the realm of semiotics. In "A Portrait of My Friends
with Their Three Most Prominent Personality Traits" (1997-1999).
I created a book of photographic symbols describing different character
traits. Each person chose three symbols from the book, and I placed
the selected images in frames which they wore around their neck. The
observers of the work will have access to a book of the symbols to
"look up" the various meanings. I've always been fascinated
with the way we meet new people. I wanted to create a situation that
gave the sitter an opportunity to show their public or private face,
and leave to the viewer some means to interpret that. There are 18
images in this series.
I like to photograph
people with whom I am intimately involved and tell their stories through
the portraits. I have always felt that the art that speaks to us best
over time is the art that portrays ourselves and the repetition
of the Human Condition.