PRESENCE is a series of long portraits recorded immediately after an aquatic bodywork session.
What inspired me for this project was witnessing my clients' reactions after each of my sessions. After having brought them to a standing position against the wall, following a full hour's session, they very often stayed there for ten, twenty minutes, or even longer sometimes. Quietly on the side, patiently waiting for them to open their eyes, I was always struck by the quality of their presence. It’s as if their face became a window within and through the moving gestures and its subtleties, even with their eyes closed I could get that rare glimpse into their being... as if all masks had been stripped off leaving a vulnerable and authentic self that they themselves may not even be acquainted with.
And so I wanted to show them, as if putting a mirror to their rising portraits with closed eyes. And I also wanted to show others and see how people respond when invited in to witness such quiet vulnerability and find out if they could relate to it somehow, perhaps emotionally or at a visceral level, without knowing what exactly it is that they are going through or even without knowing about the session that just happened.
The experience of the session itself will always be different for each person. Some remark on the physical sensations, others focus on the emotional experience. Perhaps it is dream-like. It can be so many different things. But for the sake of this project, the session is simply a medium that allows the subject to slow down and immerse in a completely new experience. And as they then process and integrate that experience, we are able to witness, or follow, that journey into presence.
With the current obsession on self-portraiture on social media, the continuous updating and manipulation of our image that we show to the world, and the speed in which we process information, I think these videos provide a challenge to slow down and appreciate a different side of people, simple, unedited, in a moment of vulnerability.
We are currently shooting a series of portraits in London, aiming to exhibit the series within an art gallery space in London in 2018. If you'd like to take part in the project please get in touch.