Through Our Eyes - eswenson

Through Our Eyes

Formally, I focus upon elements of space, tonality, texture, expression, and value. Through these devices, “Through Our Eyes” extends itself into a soul searching expedition to understand my own nature, as well as people’s interpretations of other natures. Each individual interprets my work differently, and the pieces that individuals connect to change from person to person. As “all the world is a stage, and we are all its actors,” I find I don more masks than I care to admit. This body of work is the result of this recognition.

I wanted to find another way to be me, not a mask.

As I directed each individual to conjure up images, shift their bodies, and shape their expressions, they became capable of expressing a portion of my reality in themselves; the subjects, besides me, were unaware of the piece of my life being projected.

These images embody moments and periods of my life that have contributed most to the formation of my character and being, with titles that reference the person(s) involved in these pieces of my life story. Initially, this series was defined by my own thought processes upon viewing a portrait: an array of technical elements and the expression of the subject allow me to interpret and breathe life into the captured individual. This creates an imagined persona: a life story which is utterly dependent on how I interpret the individual’s expression. This interpretation is defined by my life experiences, as I can only define another person’s feelings through my own.

At first, my portrait process began as a reversal of this portrait deconstruction. I started with a moment of my life, described my feelings, and projected them upon a specific model. To allow this projection and developing the psychological study aspect of this series, I maintain a deep understanding of the past and present experiences of each model. The models have some experiences which line up with my own, allowing presentation of my life through their own essence and being.

I would tell my model to imagine moments such as the passing of a relative, their first date, the climax of their favorite movie, or simply an emotion. Through responding to and re- directing the model’s expressions, I found what I wanted to capture: moments of myself visible in their countenances and body language. In more recent pieces, I have gone farther to impose my past more directly upon the model, allowing a few things up to their own movements, feelings, and interpretations of loosely delivered instructions.

In this manner, these pieces mimic the style of short fiction minimalism: the tip of the iceberg is visible within the image, laden with clues that allow the viewer to reconstruct the vast majority of the iceberg hidden underwater. Key to this development within the series is the incorporation of complex backgrounds and an increasing use of universal body language.

In essence, this is my story. And yet, for each bit it is my own, it is my subjects’ stories, influenced by the stories of others, and suddenly we as humans are far more similar than we often admit.

Perhaps, you know my story.

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