That’s a good question. That’s a really difficult question. And I think they’re both related. Drawing is a skill and it’s like, how do I learn to do it? And in a certain sense, I think drawing is learning to do a certain task, and I don’t mind the difficulty when someone else does it.
So do you feel you have a sense of pride in drawing?
I wonder if it comes from that pressure of showing people and not just just saying, “What do I look like as a person in a photograph, when I draw someone?” The sense of pride that comes from that, to me. It’s not easy to go from a self-portrait that shows the self — your head, your ears, your hair, your eyes …
And how many photos have you done?
I have probably 100 self-portraits. When I do them, I only do a tiny few. But one of the things I try to do is to put these moments from a different perspective, and give you a new context. The way I have to show people in these photographs — which is more art — is to show them in a different way than to draw portraits of people sitting in chairs. If I were to show that in person — if I did a couple of those, for example — I’d have the same type of conversation I do today with people who see and draw from my book.
Is having a sense of humor always a necessity in a portrait?
You did this thing where you would draw the sun behind an old woman, and a guy in the background was staring at her.
Yeah, and it just turned into a huge discussion.
Do you guys sometimes draw each other in your photography?
Yeah. I started having a conversation with Tom [Brinke] the other day … it just started being more open again.
Can you explain why this is such a big issue? We saw the sun coming near a woman’s face and a person talking to her, and they did the same thing and they’d both look right at her.
I feel it’s so important. If you look at the sun coming off the sun in a portrait, you see this really interesting pattern — what you call the “vault, the sun in the vault, it’s that thing that really makes your subject stand out. I’m not sure I would use
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