I created these portraits with a hand-built, room-sized camera obscura. The subject sits outside the camera, and I take the exposure while standing inside. The camera uses 14x17 inch medical x-ray film, which provides me with a negative dense with detail and an altered gray scale palette, allowing me to create these gritty, hyper-real looking images. I built the camera with the specific intent of making unique looking images. There is an admittedly voyeuristic quality to my x-ray portraits. I thoroughly enjoy watching my subjects react to viewing their portrait for the first time. I even printed the negatives backwards to give the subject the impression of looking into a mirror and seeing their reflected image shining back at them in the customary orientation. I shoot my portraits onto medical x-ray film, and (until recently) was simply contact printing my images onto silver gelatin paper. I now drum scan my negatives, perform a minimal amount of Photoshop manipulation, and produce 36x44 inch archival pigment print portraits.  As the viewer, you can examine these faces closely without embarrassment, counting the number of pores on a chin, freckles on a forehead, or blood vessels in an eye. We are socially programmed to pay special attention to nuances of the human face for survival, but seldom can we examine faces in so much detail. Observe all.
John the Tumor Boy
Zizi 1
Joel Daniel Phillips
14 Images