Image & Interview: Portraits of My Contemporaries

"Cedric Harper" by Carol Moses

This body of work is titled Image & Interview: Portraits of My Comtenporaries and includes,

for each subject, a photographic portrait together with edited excerpts from a lengthy interview.


The concept for this art project began some years ago when I saw the photographic work of Felix Nadar,
I liked the subjects, and style of the portraits, and later was fortunate to be able to visit the Musee d'Orsay,
and see his work there. I was attracted to his portraits notonly for their grace and content, but also because
his friends were often intellectuals, writers, poets - some of whom I was familiar with, or whose work I had
read. I sympathized with his choice of friends! I was also deeply moved tht among his cohort he counted
women intellectuals.
I developed an idea of creating a photographic record of my own friends. I have long been an eager,
greedy even, photographer of close friends, along with my abiding passion for photographing the
patterns and textures of the natural world. But with those whom I know, admire, enjoy, I have
been intent on getting set the image or sense or emotion or posture that is so familiar and evocative
to me.
The interview segment arises from my abiding curiosity about the thoughts of others - how they
think about things I think about, what has shaped them, what comes into their minds, what runs
through their thoughts. As many do, I enjoy composing a set by establishing a certain constraint,
in order to contrast what I collect through that filter. In this case, I resolved to ask people the same
questions, untailored to age, gender, occupation, relation, etc. I have been collecting these questions
for years, scribbling them into notebooks, saving them in files.
When I began preparation for this specific project, the questions I had collected numbered abound 60!
I began editing, mostly looking for a group which I could imagine that anyone could potentially
respond to, and which addressed the sorts of things I was curious about.
We did the interview at the time of the sitting, and I feel there's a really lunminous correspondence
between them. I am humbled and moved by the wonderfulness and depths of my friends.
Carol E. Moses