Just the faces of downtown Guelph

Guelph Portrait Project

Austin Gibson, a photographer, local artist and downtown Guelphite, has started The Guelph Portrait Project, featuring raw, up-close portraits of other downtowners. Basically no more than a series of mugshots, the aesthetic result is extremely personal and compelling.

Austin is quoted in a Guelph Mercury article: “Everyone complains about photos of themselves. Part of this project is to expose that fear and maybe help people get over it, because of the detail and the level of intimacy. It captures people in that raw, real way that we don’t normally see in a photo.”

The idea was to start by shooting portraits of his closest social circle, and then begin to move outward in ever-widening, connecting ‘degrees of separation.’

I find it both beautiful and fascinating as a social project, not just an art project. I love that as I stare longer at this teaser shot (above) — I find that eventually, gradually, I’ve recognized, if not put a name to, every face. And I really like that it levels everyone socially — no names, no job titles, no status — nothing to hide behind or stand upon. Just the faces.

I sat for the project last Friday night down at the Army Navy bar on Gordon St. It was a fairly simple procedure. It’s one-click and you’re done. Austin told me there are no re-takes unless there’s a technical fault or your eyes are shut.

Visit (and like) his Facebook page to find out when you can sit for your portrait. He’s planning a second event like the Army Navy shoot. Also, check out Austin Gibson Photography for more of Austin’s work.

Donations are welcome and apparently you can purchase your own raw, up-close, every-wrinkle-and-blemish portrait too. I think I’ll get mine.

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