Jon’s work will be on display at Borough Gallery & Studio as part of the exhibition “The Place You Hang Your Hat” until Friday, December 4th.

Jon Demske "R, S" Digital Fine Art Print, 24" x 18"

Jon Demske "R, S" Digital Fine Art Print, 18" x 24"

Borough Gallery & Studio: Images of our faces are everywhere, we’re always sharing and using them through our phones and the internet.  We’re all snapping or getting our mugs snapped.  So why make faceless portraits?

Jon Demske: A faceless portrait is more about an abstract meaning than a specific identity.  When people see a face in a picture they fixate on it. Every thing and every theme in the photo becomes subordinate to the question “Who is this person?” But take away the face and the photo is opened up. The space around or between the person or persons pictured comes alive. There is more room for the viewer to invent a story of their own.

BGS: Do you think there is something “truer” about the subconscious
gestures we make with our bodies as opposed to our faces, which we’re
more conscious of?

JD: I think the body follows the face, and the leader of the face is the gaze. People facing the camera are very conscious of the question Where should I look? and that idea of “should” changes everything, even their posture. On the other hand, looking away, the camera nearly disappears and the conversation can turn inward and to things besides the notion of being photographed. This changes their posture too. There’s truth in both. The first is the truth of being photographed, the second some mysterious truth of their own.

Jon Demske "M" Digital Fine Art Print, 24" x 18"

Jon Demske "M" Digital Fine Art Print, 24" x 18"

BGS: How aware/composed are your subjects?  Are you there saying, “look
that-a-way,” or do you photograph candidly?

JD: My photographs in The Place You Hang Your Hat  are in between candid and composed. For the longest time I was against composing photographs. Then I saw some powerful semi-controlled images. For example, in Doug Dubois’ All the Days and Nights many of the photos are recreated family moments. With the help of the original family members the situations are made for the camera, but in doing so a creative dialogue erupts between the photographed, the photographer, and their memories. A new moment is born. The resulting photograph still holds emotional power because it is not fiction, it is merely refined. Because the people in my photos know me as a photographer, they are reacting not just to the camera but to me, and any composing becomes a natural part of our relationship.

BGS: What’s your work like after you’ve taken the photos?  Does it take
longer selecting the right shot, or adjusting the color?  Do you have
a preference between digital or film development?

JD: I shoot strictly film, Then I scan all the images in, select which photos I feel are strongest, and edit digitally. I edit minimally, just bringing out the visual information already there and making sure color is balanced.

BGS: And what are you shooting nowadays, what subjects/concepts are you interested in?

I’m concentrating on portraiture, and I’m doing experiments with antique cameras. Also, I’m studying more painting and cinema.  Artists of those mediums have unique approaches to image-making, so I’ve been trying to get in their heads and steal what I can use.

Jon Demske "V, V" Digital Fine Art Print 18" x 24"

Jon Demske "V, V" Digital Fine Art Print 18" x 24"

For more information on Jon Demske go here. See his work in person at Borough until Friday, December 4th.

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