How close is close ?

For the past few weeks I have been taking photographs for my upcoming exhibition, Poetry Snapshots. It's got me thinking about what it is to take a portrait. I have the advantage of knowing some of the photographic subjects very welI and wonder how much this closeness contributes to the final portrait. I found this quote by one of my favourite photographers, Nan Goldin.I never took pictures with a long lens, it is always short and I have to get close to people I photograph.

Goldin's portraits are very close indeed, including a sequence of a couple's love-making. Although my portraits are not that intimate I realise I do look at the images I capture with a lover's gaze. I shoot a lot and spend hours post-processing poring over the subtle changing expressions in the facial musculature. I'm a bit of a face detective awaiting the moment the person is revealed behind the persona. For this reason locations are less important to me than the light playing on a person's skin, and in their eyes.

It's been very rewarding spending these pockets of time with some of London's best spoken word performers. The conversations have varied from the playful to the political with everything in between. And an exhibition of this kind would not be complete without a performance to launch it ! Come and join us.