Terri Terry

Fine Art Photography

PERCEPTION-- I have always had a deep fascination with the human mind and it's relationship to the physical body. In our myriad facial expressions and in our smallest, most subtle body movements, we often, unknowingly, reveal more than we might feel comfortable expressing with our words. We can't help it; our emotions filter (or sometimes, burst) through. That, to me, is the essence of this uniquely human battle between our "selves" as we are, and how we wish to be perceived by others. We call this our "persona", yes, let's all go and re-invent ourselves! As children, we are blissfully unaware of convention or expected behaviors, and feel free expressing our feelings and emotions as they come naturally. But as this gets "bred" out of us, we are left conflicted, stuck somewhere between our authentic "selves" and the "selves" we feel that society has deemed we ought to be. On some ancient level, we realize that we desire to be accepted and included. It is evolutionarily selected for, in that man's ancestors, who stayed in groups or tribes, survived more often than the loners, who had no one to fall back on in times of illness or injury. I have seen people reject this conformity, but I have noticed that they do seem happier in non-conformist groups. Maybe, if we just sit quietly for awhile and be with ourselves, we would get to know who we are.

TRUTH-- Photography, for me, is a medium uniquely suited to capturing the "self" at a given moment in time. For instance, a painting may depict a lovely young girl, in a luminous, flowing gown, with a pleasing, serene expression, gazing into her garden. While a photograph, of that very same moment, might reveal that the girl is not so young after all, and has earned a few lines from life on her face, and her expression is not-so-much serene, as resigned. She isn't actually noticing the flowers at all. There is a real beauty in that image, for me. I do not mean to denegrate paintings as "fluff" by any means! Nothing could be farther from the truth! I see a painted portrait, and think of the time the subject sat and wondered how attractive the artist would make them look. Hey, if you are going to sit still for this artist for this long period of time and then have to look at it on your wall forever, you would want to look "good". The same is true for many photographic portraits. This is about the subject. I prefer to make a photographic portrait that is a quick snap of reality, before the subject has a chance to compose him or herself. It may or may not be "flattering", in the traditional sense, but it feels "real" and interesting and beautiful to me. I wonder if this may be a reason some portrait painters choose to paint from photographs. I do love to stand before a painting, breathing in all of the fine details, appreciating the techniques, use of light and color, and noticing how it makes me feel. But photography is in my soul, and is how I personally feel most honest making my images. Photography allows me to express myself as loudly or quietly as I feel at a given moment.

REVELATIONS-- Maybe, photographic portraits are as much about the artist as the subject. Why does the photographer feel the need to make this photograph? What does this image signify for them? What is it photographer trying to convey to the viewer? What feelings are they trying to elicit?

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