Reference Photographs

Studio View

I worked on the first pass of etching ink on No. 27 today. (the portrait on the far left in the image above) What was tricky about this portrait was the reference photograph that I’m working from; the photograph itself is really visually and emotionally striking, and I worry that the drawing won’t be able to capture that intensity as well as the photograph does. That’s definitely one of the problems of having really good reference material. With “Wading” I intentionally collected reference material that was blurry and vague, forcing me to be more inventive with the drawing process. This project is completely different in that I need extremely detailed, high resolution photographs to capture a high level of detail in the drawings. My goal has never been to “live up to” the photograph; it’s that bridge and transformation from the reference photograph to the drawing process that I’m interested in. Especially with this particular portrait, I’m feeling like I’m watching the  drawings “compete” with the reference photographs. Fortunately I’m the only one who will ever have this experience-this is one of the many reasons why I won’t ever show the reference photographs. There would be too many temptations to compare the photographs against the drawings for many people, a comparison I don’t want to invite.

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