Duane Michaels, August Sander, Irving Penn, Paul Strand, Imogen Cunningham, Cartier Bresson, Walker Evans –were photographers whose work drew my attention to portraiture. The consummate eye and empathy within their portraits led me to study them over and over.

I began to take portraits. My photographs didn’t always conjure up the subject’s idealised vision of how they looked. The path I was exploring wasn’t taking me towards any stylized forms or manicured images.

This way of seeing may be described as a physical sensation. I feel it as a shock of recognition although at the time I may not know what it is I have recognized. There is a feeling rather like memory or even déjà vu, before I have had time to make sense of it. Perhaps this is what we mean by intuition.

Claire McNamee 2020

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