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John Dugdale


John Dugdale, "Hungarian Man with Lilies, Morton Street NYC, 1996", "I Am Bewildered By His Beauty, Stone Ridge NY, 2003", "The Thousand Responses of My Heart, Morton Street NYC, 1998", "The Spirit Eye, Morton Street NYC, 1998", "Lenten Self Portrait, Morton Street NYC, 1996", "Still nodding night, Morton Street NYC, 1998".

Q: Is contextualization necessary to understand a true (self) portrait?

A: I don’t believe that context is necessary if the setting and timing is right. Most of all, the information that one needs for a self-portrait, or any portrait, is body language and facial expression. I don’t feel I need to be sitting in an antique chair to portray timelessness. The human body says everything.

Q: If you as a maker look at the portrait you have made, do you see a reflection of yourself despite another person in the image?

A: Yes, always. I’ve never taken a picture of someone, kind enough to reveal themselves in my camera, where I have not also become the subject.

Q: Do you agree that by making a self-portrait you heal yourself?

A: Absolutely, 100%. My pictures kept me from losing my mind during my bout of sight loss.

Q: When do you see the soul of the person portrayed in the image?

A: When they have their clothes off.

Q: What do you think is a misconception of portraiture?

A: That it’s going to look like you as you see yourself. Actually, you will not see the reflection you see of yourself in the mirror, but the real way the photographer and everyone else sees you.

Q: What would be the ideal scenario to create a truly embodied portrait?

A: Being comfortable in my studio, which is also my home, and sharing my personal life for a moment with my subject. And a cup of tea. Sometimes a quiet time before the session is essential for the sitter to relax enough to be themselves.


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