"I have never been too fond of portraits. Sure, I love looking at people’s faces, their features, looks and complexions – those unlimited variations with which nature has endowed the human race. Portraits, however, often presuppose some kind of imaginary 'essence' in the person portrayed, which is then presented to us aesthetically as a given, something only the viewer can discover.
I don’t believe the ‘essence’ of a person really exists. I believe even less that photography could magically coax this ‘essence’ into being, let alone that another person might discover this so-called ‘essence’ just by looking at a photograph.
For me, creating portraits is about sharing a moment with another person, whilst remaining conscious of the impossibility of bridging the gap between individual existences. It is one of the most direct and powerful ways I know of touching upon the mutual experience of what it is to be human. This, I believe, is why I’ve been taking photographs of you for so many years, creating pockets in time by recording a momentary connection.
As a way of approaching this mutual experience, portrait photography allows for the possibility, slight as it may be, for the viewer to experience the same momentary connection between the photographer and the person portrayed beyond the boundaries of space and time.
That’s why I’ve decided to share these photographs here: so that all of you out there can take a look and maybe, just maybe, rekindle the connection between us.”
(In conversation with G.E. Watson, February 2017)