Photographer & curator
Pete Lamberto, portraits from the Our Love Will Come Back series.
Q: Do you agree if I say that by making a self-portrait you heal yourself?
A: I do believe, to some extent, that self-portraits can be healing. I did a project some time ago entitled Our Love Will Come Back; a project that was born out of a lifetime of self degrading behaviour and yet a sense of hope that I one day could see myself in another light. On the more conceptual side, the photography project worked around the idea of self portraits through borrowed faces, meaning that I tried to project my own melancholy and insecurities upon the subjects I borrowed, while directing every bit of expression, body language and posture.
I don’t know whether it healed me in the long run, but the project did however give me space to re-create a broken self-image and build an emotional sanctuary for myself, using something else than self-hating phrases.
Q: Does being unclothed naturally give sexual connotations to a person in a portrait?
A: Being unclothed surely does not necessarily tell any tale of sexual approximation. It can, of course, but for me I find the naked body a way to discover the beautiful insecurities and flaws in the subject. More so, it often provides much more interesting photographs as the language of the body naturally tends to become introverted and alert when being naked and exposed - and this side of human nature, for me, is more of an interesting journey to discover than anything else.
Q: How do you choose the moment to capture time in a still, non-moving image?
A: I do think it varies from case to case. For my personal projects I tend to like the moments “between the lines”, meaning that I typically end up using the images that are captured between the actual takes - for example while I’m just speaking or adjusting the subject.
Q: If every portrait is considered a reproduction of somebody, and all reproduction is an interpretation, is it at all possible to depict the true body as it is in real life?
A: What an interesting question.
I think the short answer would be no. But at the same time, I also find it important to ask the question of whether depicting an entire truth is really worth pursuing within portraiture (or most things for that matter) as I find the urgency to reflect and wonder, as a viewer, will somehow get lost by not leaving anything unanswered or open for further interpretation.
Q: What is the most important quality to possess as a portrait maker?