The Lost Art of Intimacy.
It’s cold gray winter day in Canada. It’s a Sunday and I’m thinking about intimacy because it’s an integral part of my work.
I believe intimacy is the ability to let down our barriers, to let down our defenses and allow another human being to get close to us- it’s the ability to be vulnerable and be open and be authentic and present.
I don’t think there’s any hard and fast rules about intimacy. I don’t think it necessarily takes a long time to become intimate- I think you could become instantly intimate with another human being if you so choose and if the energy is flowing the right way. You can know someone for 20, 30, 40 years and never be able to be intimate with them the matter how hard you try. I think it’s a matter of chemistry, timing, intent and maybe other things as well.
Intimacy is a lost art- a neglected reflex in this cold, remote society.
Yet ironically, I think it’s probably the thing that many people crave the most- to be truly seen and held and felt and heard by another person.
I think photography has a strange, uneasy relationship with intimacy. On one hand, it’s a superficial two-dimensional medium mitigated by a machine. On the other hand, the lens can be so penetrative and because you are taking a discrete moment of time, I think photographs can often capture intimacy.
I’m in the funny position as a photographer that I’m almost always trying to compel complete strangers to open up and create intimacy with me in front of the camera.
I’m trying to get beyond their masks and public personas and get as much of the core authentic person to show up
The fundamental way that I am trying to accomplish this is to be completely naked and unguarded and real myself while risking seeming uncool or goofy or I don’t know. I don’t know what people think when they meet me, but whatever they think, they’re meeting the real me.
So I have two hours to go on a magical journey into the core of my subjects- at the same time trying to stay on top of all the technical and logistical challenges of trying to produce a great photo.
Seems to be working though, it’s happening, There’s some sort of alchemy that’s allowing this to happen. I will not spend any time analyzing what it may or may not be, I’m just very grateful. I’m grateful that when I look at the photos, I do often see that spark of intimacy (sometimes it’s a burning flame) and I’m very very grateful to the people who have opened themselves up and allowed me a glimpse into their often splendid sometimes troubled worlds.
I feel very honoured by you all.