Moving from Daguerreotype to digital in one gesture, this collection of over 300 individual photographic portraits entitled About Face are unaltered and ambitious. Benjamin Timpon’s intent is to evoke a feeling of investigation and observation through the coded information of the negative print.  These negatives are manifestations of truth seeing and are created without manipulation and raw.  Created with a handmade 16×20″ camera Timpson designed, light moves through the lens and spills onto light sensitive photographic paper. The negative prints become a vehicle that unifies the assemblage of faces without regard to ethnicity or race. The more viewers observe these individual portraits, the more they begin to recognize the physicality of the skin and even perhaps the sets of eyes and noses.  About Face utilizes a smartphone to complete the portrait. This intentional requirement directly engages the viewer with the work. Looking becomes an active experience. The phone acts like a photographer’s loupe, a tool for exploring the negative print and decoding the portrait.  The installation of negative prints functions as a collective of presences, each one in dialogue with the other. However, it is not possible to see all the work at once through a smartphone. This is another intentional aspect of the work, one that forces an exploration of each individual alone and separate. It requires the viewer to scan the surface of the print incrementally, like an investigator moving through the woods in the dark of the night, flashlight in hand. The work becomes an opportunity to explore the topography of the human face with the intent of uniting humans through portraiture and allowing the viewer an opportunity to really “see”.

Ben Timpson