Goodbye, Portraits

Empathy black white Twins Fashion Photograph by Johnny Kerr
Empathy, 2015


I made a choice this weekend to remove my Portraits portfolio from my website.

One of the hardest things to do as a photographer is to edit your own work; to decide which images make the cut. Even though I’ve delved into portraiture in the past, it doesn’t really represent the future direction of my work as an artist. I haven’t had a person in front of my lens for almost two years.

One thing I’ve learned about the art world is that nobody is interested in breadth. Galleries and potential clients are not interested in a jack-of-all-trades. They want depth. They want to see that an artist has vision and focus. Anything in my portfolio that doesn’t demonstrate such only serves to bring down everything else.


Acquiescence woman shaving man with straight razor
Acquiescence, 2015

I have to swallow my pride and recognize portraiture as a weak link in my work, even though I do have a few that I’m pleased with (and some award-winners). If I was serious about pursuing people as subject matter I would work on strengthening my skills in that area. However, at least for the time being, I’m just not inspired to do so.

I still have some more work to do in focusing my portfolio, but this was a good start. It is difficult to cut images that I have a strong connection to, but I have to learn to be more objective. I have to let each image stand on its own merit, not based on the experience I had making it, my attachment to the subject matter, or my ideas.

Who knows what the future will hold, but for now I’m doing my best to be honest with myself and faithfully walk the line between objectivity and the undeniable emotional bias in creating art.