A collection of over 300 individual portraits; this series, moves from Daguerreotype to digital in one gesture.  These negative photographs are unaltered portraits and ambiguous. Benjamin Timpon’s intent for the work is to evoke a feeling of investigation and observation through the coded information of the negative print.  The negatives are manifestations of truth seeing.  They are created without manipulation and raw.  Created with a handmade 16×20″ camera Timpson created from scratch, 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 respect to ethnicity or race. The more viewer observe these individual portraits, the more they begin to recognize the physicality of the skin and perhaps even, the set of the 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 the 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