A Face Reconstructed
This is a photo collage portrait of my brother Adam that I made by photographing features of his face close up and then developing them in a darkroom and putting them together. The photo collage stands almost three feet tall all together, and, although it's difficult to show in the photo when it's this small, there is extreme detail in his facial features and hair since the photos were taken so close up.
British photographer Bill Brandt said of portraiture, "I try to avoid the fleeting expression and vivacity of a snapshot. A composed expression seems to have a more profound likeness. I think a good portrait ought to tell something of the subject's past and suggest something of his future." I think this statement fits this portrait very well, as I produced the collage as an intentional documentation of his face a year before he had facial reconstructive surgery. My brother was born with a rare overgrowth syndrome that effected the development of his facial features, breathing passages, and sinus cavities. We knew from when he was young that he would need this once his face was done growing as an adult; I hoped to produce something to document his old features to compare them to the new.
Looking at this portrait now, I think the way these photos are put together lends itself well to the the purpose of the collage. Maybe only in knowing what I know do I see in this portrait what Brandt was speaking of in his quote, something about the past and something about the future.My brother had his facial reconstruction about six months ago, his face has pretty much healed to normal and I hope to soon make a new facial study portrait as comparison. I think what I will likely find is that his face has not changed nearly to the extent that we thought it would, which in some ways is a great comfort.