I take photographs of strangers. They are people unknown to me, whose lives I briefly investigate through the act of photography. The strangers select themselves by responding to notices I post online, announcing that I need subjects for portraits. The fact that these individuals are from outside my sphere of existence is essential. Giving me permission to enter their lives satisfies a deep-seated curiosity I have nurtured for years. Watching people at cafes or chatting at parties, I am fascinated by people that I can never know anything about. My role as photographer gives me the key to accessing these anonymous existences.

These staged portraits are concrete fictions: they are my fantasies about the lives of people who willingly invite me into their homes. Some of the people who want their picture taken are aspiring models; some are children of mothers who want a nice picture to give grandma. Others are simply lonely and enjoy the attention. Young girls can be awkward; old men can be graceful, yet all have a unique, strange beauty when I see them through the lens.

During the portrait session, our agendas inevitably collide; I have a specific idea about the way I want the subjects to appear, and I control this through my choice of photographic tools: camera format, composition, and lighting. I try to enable their fantasies by using lighting and the medium format camera. Part of my function as photographer is to facilitate the sitter’s desire. The resulting pictures reveal the trace of this social negotiation, between my idea of how they should appear, and the way they see themselves.

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