I started making these portraits as a way to play with the relationship between photographer, camera subject and viewer -- thinking about the camera’s role of providing an insight in that dynamic. Making these portraits became a kind of theatrical power-play in which the subject could try to influence the camera and I could try to influence the subject. They are made using a Polaroid aura camera developed by American inventor in an attempt to record what a psychic might see. The subject is connected directly to the camera by sensors measuring electromagnetic biofeedback. The camera translates these readings into information about the subjects character and how they are seen by others and generates a printed description of these views of the subject which are depicted as color in the Polaroid.
The aura camera has undertones of pseudo-scientific authority and attributes associated with a less mediated type of photography. It's a modified land camera which uses instant film and has only one button, implying minimal mediation from the photographer. Aura photography is a relatively recent offshoot of spirit photography. Unlike attempts to record images of ghosts, aura photography evolved from a type of spirit photography - popular around the time diagnostic imaging devices like the x-ray emerged -- which sought to objectively measure and document unseen aspects of the human body.
I am photographing people who are familiar to me, or that I have expectations of -- including family, friends and people whose personalities are in the public sphere.
The Portrait Machine Project Book, published by Damiani includes portraits of Waris Ahluwalia, Tim Barber, James Frey, Miranda July, Richard Kern, Terence Koh, Bill Powers, Aurel Schmidt, Philippe Starck and Taika Waititi.
For more information or to purchase a book please visit www.theportraitmachine.com