"I do use light to reveal – or the opposite of reveal – with my subjects how they are feeling or how I feel.
"I think there is a lot of correspondence and communication between two human beings that goes on without one’s mouth moving. And that’s in body language and I think just in brainwaves. I think we do really connect. It’s often quite a heightened moment for the sitter, you known, because they have someone really quite near them with a camera pointing at them and it’s a … I think in those heightened moments you communicate even better.
"I think something like that goes on and I really trust it. You know, that’s what I trust. And I think that’s the moment when a picture becomes a portrait.
"I really deal with the cadaver of a person. It’s a form in front of me that I show in a certain way by lighting in a certain way. I’m certainly not looking for a truth in them. Often I think it might be more a truth in me.
"I like to know how they look so I recognize who’s who when they walk in the door but really not much more than that.
"I really like the connection that human beings have when there isn’t a great knowledge – like when you first meet people. I would find it very, very hard to photograph a friend well. Or to photograph somebody that I knew well. I think that that tension when you first meet people allows you to communicate without speaking, really sharply. So I don’t find out a lot. I don’t chat a lot. I hardly talk when I photograph. But I do … there will be something about a person that will cause me to direct them following things they do. They might glance somewhere and it make me think something that I trust and try something with them and slowly they become themselves. A very accurate themselves. And that’s when I think it works the best."
Excerpts from Nadav Kander on Portraiture
National Portrait Gallery (posted on Strobist July 25, 2012)
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