True Love, 2009
Photography, Dimensions Variable
People are exhorted to "say cheese" for the camera so their faces will approximate a happy look. Sometimes it works, sort of, since getting the muscles to do what happens in the act of smiling is not so difficult. Other emotional states, such as love, are far more complex, and not easily photographed. Love is intimate and deeply personal, and its expression may be hard to share in a staged setting, with a stranger, or in front of a camera. People feel and express love in so very many ways it is impossible to imagine finding a gimmick such as "say cheese" that might facilitate an image of love which would be anything but a bad joke. Feelings of love, however, live within us all as emotional memories, whether from being held as a baby years ago, or caressed in bed just the other night.
Hypnosis opens a pathway into the unconscious, the neurological realm of emotional memory. In TRUE LOVE a group of volunteers worked with a professional hypnotist to reach, in trance, a point where they were able to visualize the camera as a beloved person. The resulting images capture people who are actually in love with the camera, and through the image, with the viewer, permitting a rare opportunity for direct emotional contact with other human beings.