This exhibition comprises work is created using the historical tools of two types of portrait artists: the camera obscura of the Renaissance painter and the Talbotype of the mid-ninteenth-century photographer. The Paper Portrait Project consists of images of visitors to the studio, made earlier in the month during an open studio event (see Event Listings, April 2).
The relatively low-cost silver-based portrait that emerged in the mid nineteenth century at the height of the Industrial Revolution had the effect of democratizing the portrait image as well as the idea of self and identity. With this invention, the greater populace had the capacity to commission an image of themselves, whereas historically this was reserved only for those social classes who had the means to contract a portrait painter. The camera and its resulting photographic print gave the subject of the image the opportunity to see their likeness as the world saw it, rather than how the subject viewed oneself, reflected in a mirror.