Michael Poster has been photographing the people of Scranton
since 2001 as part of his Scranton Photographic Project.
In February and March, 2004 he showed the first 3 years of that
work at the Marquis Gallery.
Recently, he's been making collaborative portraits while walking
the streets of the city to be shown at Camerawork Gallery in
an exhibit titled: Bulls Head to Nay Aug. The
pictures describe the people you pass every day, those you might
look at for a moment or two but might not really see.
Here's what he says about these portraits:
Take a walk on city streets or through a park. Most people
you meet will either avoid your gaze or offer a summary greeting
and move on. You might notice them and at the end of your
walk remember a few that stood out for some reason, but for
the most part you probably haven't had the luxury of really
looking at them. Worse yet, in spite of your best efforts
you may have dismissed them altogether or categorized them
as one type of person or another.
And they have likely done the same. If they remember you
at all it might be as a short, middle-aged white guy with
a camera, or a punk with a Mohawk, or a woman with too many
rowdy kids. But chances are they haven't really seen you either.
These portraits happen when I slow that walk down and spend
enough time to actually look at the people I encounter, if
only for a few moments, without complacency or judgment. For
those few moments I try to suspend predisposition and prejudice.
I ask if I can make a portrait and they present themselves
to the camera in a way that pleases them.
This collaborative effort is a mix of casual, almost offhand
shooting and more contemplative picture-making, but it happens
within a minute or two at most. If the process takes too long
my efforts overwhelm their activities and compromise the exchange.
It's important that I find an appropriate setting and make
the picture quickly before I impose myself on them and on
the picture as well.
More of Michael Poster's pictures can be seen at the Scranton
Photographic Project web site.