Weekend Portrait Series: Epilogue
See that's the problem when you say something is over, and that the last thing is an epilogue rather than a finale: you end up waiting nearly three months to post. I nearly didn't post tonight. I got distracted, then I realised I wouldn't have had a chance to post until next year. And that wouldn't do.
A lot has happened since I finished the Weekend Portrait Series. I went to Japan. I quit my job. I got a new job. Christmas. But things are stabilising again, so it's time.
I had a long-winded retrospective post about how the project changed me written longhand in a Moleskine journal, but the problem, with longhand is that you eventually need to transcribe it. So I will say this. Portraits are scary. Portraits are awesome. And having completed as many as I did in such a short time, I only want to do more. I look at strangers and think how I would take their picture. How I would show the freckles across their nose, that particular look, a squint, a scar, a glance. People are amazing, and portraits are about people.
Shortly after I finished my Weekend Portrait Series, I was contacted by Linette Voller, who asked if she could still participate. I agreed, though I did point out the series was over. Undeterred, we met near a train station, and wandered to a park.
Linette Voller, October 4th.
I knew Linette, like so many other subjects in this series, through improv. I had also seen her show with Linda Calgaro and Anne Wilson, Ladyfingers. I once had the pleasure of improvising with Linette at Fresh, one of the showcases for novice improvisors (which I was and she most certainly was not). Instead of the waistcoats I had become used to seeing her wear on stage, she was dressed all in brown: trousers, shirt, shoes, even her necklace. "People are saying magazines have discovered colour blocking, isn't that amazing?"
As she interacted with the various weather-beaten trees in the park, we discussed the various types of ants we could spot (a habit of mine, especially when visiting the Hunter Valley). Linette explained she had once had a job explaining software change management to the national parks service and so is able to quickly identify species of spider, snake or ants that bite.
Throughout the shoot, Linette did something that surprised me: she asked about me. Usually I ask questions to get stuff for these blogs, and to put the subjects at ease, but she asked, and when I replied, asked more. I found myself talking about my thoughts on the project, photography as a who, and my thoughts on artists so often being asked to give their work for free.
We talked about perceived value, and I mentioned that it was tough to come up with a figure that paid for materials, your time, and a bit for you, without alienating your potential customer by exceeding expectations. She put the concept very simply, and I found myself nodding along.
"When I was doing tarot readings in a shop, the customers who balked at the priced were always the arsiest ones. They wouldn't believe, would argue back."
And ain't that the truth.
And apropos of that (although I've had the idea for a long time before) I'm going to be putting all the featured photographs from the Weekend Portrait Series on my Society6 page. I've started already, but Society6 only lets you put up a few photos per day, and it's a long process. If you like what I do, maybe buy a print. Or, if you were a subject, maybe suggest your mum buy one. She seems like a nice lady.
Thank you to everyone that was involved. Yes, including you.
A sad post script: shortly before the end of this year, my favourite photo lab and camera showroom, Foto Riesel, went into liquidation. The act was sudden, with less than a day's notice. I for one am supremely grateful to John, Wayne, Kierra, Kel, Peter, Other John, and all the folks who developed my films, deciphers my job sheets, talked a load of old toot of a Monday morning and put up with my unreasonable expectations and weird film types. You'll be missed, guys.
Special thanks to Linette Voller for her time. Developing and scanning by Foto Riesel, Sydney.