Salon Portraits

“Salon Portraits” installation view, Walker’s Point Center for the Arts, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, July 1989

Salon Portraits (1986-1992)

Studio portraits of young Midwestern creative types made 4×5 and 8×10 view cameras and vintage fresnel spot-lights in a claustrophobic living room studio in the Riverwest neighborhood of Milwaukee and later in our more spacious Manitowoc studio. Several were published in the local publications including Shepherd Express, Art Muscle, Milwaukee Magazine.

View images on Flickr

Read Shepherd Express 6.22.1989 review by Jeff Worman

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SALON PORTRAITS

Essay excerpts by J. Shimon & J. Lindemann (1989)

We just wanted to make pictures of people we’d been meeting to bring forth a sense of the individual. Increasingly, people seemed to hide behind mass-culture imagery that renders the individual as an interchangeable entity bent on a success. Contemporary commercial portraiture reflects this as it perpetuates a mask-like facial expression with a smiling exuberance that acts as proof that the subject is “happy”. With commissioned portraiture the resulting product can’t help but be influenced by the photographer’s desire or need to turn a profit and appease the customer’s vanity. We attempted balancing reality, history, alchemy, naturalism, mysticism, chromatics, glamor, and straightforward representation until we hit on something that worked for these portraits. We were looking at vintage Hollywood headshots, the work of photographic inventors, photo booth portraits, and the tradition of portrait painting in the grand manner as practiced since the Renaissance. Our picture-making process became a synthesis of traditional methods, contemporary materials, and age-old ideas.

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