Portraits of the Present

This is the visual result of a research project I began in late 2013. An intimate setting was created and invitations were extended to market-goers to enter a constructed space and create a 30 second long video portrait. In the place of a large medium format camera, or impressive digital rig sat a laptop computer. The desktop was blank apart from video recording software and the instruction to press record and let the webcam record for 30 seconds – a digital mirror of of sorts in which I asked punters to reflect upon the way in which they share their image with the world and those around them using technology.

The notion of portraiture is one that has been evolving for thousands of years, but in recent years as technology rapidly develops around us, the ways in which we portray ourselves has changed dramatically. Personal technological devices, social media and the internet have opened up a myriad of tools we can use to share our likeness not only with those close to us, but with the world.

Working along side fellow photographer & cinematographer Rhys Jones, we examined the act of portraiture using the moving image in a way that draws focus on the process rather than the result. Our findings are in no means complete or conclusive as we are just opening the lid on a rapidly evolving and complex subject. What we present here in conjunction with the thoughts of scholar Jill Walker is a contemplative and brief digital essay of sorts which aims to compare and contrast the reactions and actions we encountered whilst creating portraits of the present.

Produced & Directed by Ali Cameron

Edited by Ali Cameron & Rhys Jones

Citations from the essay “Mirrors and Shadows: The Digital Aestheticisation of Oneself”
by Jill Walker – University of Bergen (Department of Humanistic Informatics)

“Nightlite” by Bonobo
“Truth” by Alexander Ebert