I don’t often enjoy making portraits. As a former physical therapist, I am comfortable touching people and even directing them how to move, so it might seem that I would be a natural in posing and photographing people. But this is not so. The making of a portrait is intricately linked to how I see and experience beauty. It is an intimate and highly subjective experience for both the photographer and the subject. In the end, I am fearful that any picture I make will simply not do justice to the person.
Friend and artist, Elizabeth Woodford is teaching me some hand-stitching. She patiently sets me up with a hoop, fabric, needle and embroidery floss. She demonstrates a variety of stitches for me to practice. She is encouraging. This is fun!
After my lesson, Elizabeth shows me some of her textile art, rich with color and texture, embellished and adorned. I am amazed by her skill and style, but even more so by her kindness. She wears one of her own creations, a dramatic scarf. Standing near the window, bathed by light, I see my friend – filled with the grace and confidence that come from doing what you are put on this earth to do – and I know that I can make this portrait.
It’s hard to explain just how good it feels to take a picture like this.
Art does not reproduce what we see; rather, it makes us see. –Paul Klee