Portraits: Sensations of the Ordinary



September 10, 2018

Ply-Knits’ third photo series documents four women. We look past conventional representations of outward beauty, glamour, and youth, and notice strength in other ways. Consider: women’s inner strength, polite decorum, and quiet gravitas. Or masterful wit, or long-learned expertise.  Beauty has a wide representation of age, race, and character. 

This is pertinent in the digital age because the pressure to look conventionally beautiful creates unhealthy distortions in selective framing, filtering, and digital enhancements. Just take one (or ten) looks at social media’s endless upward current. Presciently, Susan Sontag writes, ‘In deciding how a picture should look, in preferring one exposure to another, photographers are always imposing standards on their subjects... To photograph is to appropriate the thing photographed.’

Documentations of the Ordinary introduces four women—two artists and two models: Stephanie, Gail, Amy, and Margarita, all varying in age and ethnicity. We shot them over two days on the street and at home. There were many beautiful images shot, including some posed and staged images. But the final selections are candid moments in-between, of each woman when they are as their own, unaware photographer Sasha is still shooting. 

The results are quite cinematic and documentary. Stephanie swiftly wipes the Birds of Paradise in between takes because ‘it was too dusty’. Gail greets her husband who watches off the set with a smile. Amy helps the stylists with carrying the knits between street locations. Margarita peers through the prop books after her hair is done. In their moments of quietude, we find busyness, inner peace, humor, certainty, observation, action, and reflection.  If you are skeptical and find the portraits of the women to look too perfect, it is because they are, as they are.

All my best,