This film explores ideal presentation of self before the camera and notions of the photographic 'moment'. For a portrait to record a subject's subtle state of being or 'self', the question of observation is raised. In the film, the moment shifts from the photographer's idea of decisiveness to the unobserved subject's stream of indecisive instances. The photographer makes portraits. The photographer leaves the photographed one alone with the camera for some minutes. The photographer returns. The gentle shifts in awareness of the presence and absence of the photographer raise questions relating to the essential morality of making images of people who both know they are being observed and are then unaware. Which is the true record? Is the photographer necessary - or even an impediment - to the act of photography?
The film was produced during an open studio project at Japan Foundation, Hanoi through the Skylines With Flying People art initiative - swfp.org/s/ - curated by artist Nguyen Phuong Linh and architect Tsuneo Noda in December 2012. A garage was turned into a temporary media lab that Nguyen Trinh Thi and I made into an ad hoc photo studio and screening room. Members of the general public, the other artists, our family, and numerous other visitors to the space participated in producing a photographic portrait and this session was simultaneously recorded on film. This is the result.
Exhibition Guidelines: this film can be screened in numerous ways in a museum or gallery setting.
1) The first and most desired option is to be projected near to or slightly larger than life size onto a white wall with the bottom edge of the projection meeting exactly the corner between the floor and the wall. The projector should be mounted vertically so that the 16:9 aspect ratio actually become 9:16 and the people stand vertically within the vertical frame (unlike this online version). A media player with the large uncompressed media file should be connected to the projector for full HD appreciation of the image. No DVD projection. Separate speakers for audio and seating for a small number (4-8) of people within a discrete space.
2) The second preferred option is to play the film on a vertically mounted, free-standing LCD (or plasma) screen 40" or larger again with the vertical media file (unlike this online version) so the people fit within the vertical frame. On a wall several feet behind, adjacent to, or opposite the monitor may be mounted in a grid formation the 110 printed portraits also produced in conjunction with this project of which the 56 people within the film are also seen in the order the portraits were produced. These can be either A2 or A3 in size. Image on monitor is played from a large media file only, via media player, and with external good quality speakers. This may be viewed in a more public setting than above and in conjunction with other artworks. Several seats are ideally provided.
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