Conor King: Seeing, as I am presents a series of photographic portraits capturing isolated close-ups of six individuals against plain backgrounds. King shot each portrait using a 4×5 inch view camera, which requires the sitter to be still for extended periods of time. The portraits become collaborations between the sitter and the highly controlled studio environment of the artist. The straightforward approach and simplified nature of King’s photographs produce seemingly honest renderings of the individuals. Yet, the blank, non-descript environments of King’s photographs leave us with very little information about the person. While the large-scale format allows close inspection of the subject’s body language, clothing, and face – with each freckle, tattoo, or button magnified – we are ultimately left to develop our own interpretations about the individual.
The individuals’ neutral expressions create emotionally stark images that suggest they are insulated in the depths of their own psyches. King’s subjects boldly stare through the lens, past the frame to confront the viewer with strong declaration. Their unflinching postures and direct gazes challenge any voyeuristic observations from his camera. This directness demonstrates each sitter’s awareness of the camera and explores the relationships between the photographer, sitter, and the viewer.
The portraits presented in Seeing, as I am portray people King knows personally, and all are artists or individuals entrenched in creative lifestyles. One of the photographs presented in this series is the artist’s self-portrait. Like in the other portraits, King’s expression and environment are difficult to interpret. The artist’s deliberate construction of the portraits is again evident, even amplified in his depiction of self.
Conor King (b.1980, St. Paul, Minnesota) holds an MFA from Pratt Institute, New York City and a BFA from the University of Colorado Boulder. His work has been shown nationally and internationally and is included in the public collections of Photo Americas and Lake Forest College. King currently lives and works in Denver, Colorado.