work > Alternative Portraits

His project, A Family Portrait, examines the tangible loss of memory associated with the loss of physical evidence. He creates new realities of visual documentation with distressed surfaces, but the images also echo the loss of family history associated with natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and photographs left to the elements. - Aline Smithson, Lenscratch, 2014

I began this series of portraits because I wanted to document the people I know, using the photograph as a way to preserve memory. The photograph is the most tangible thing we can hold onto when memory begins to fade. Preservation through imagery alters our perception of reality, melding it with the imaginary. Inevitably distortion occurs to all memories.

As an artist, I have a constant urge to become immersed in the physicality of my work, which is not satisfied by creating straight portraits. Because of this, I continue the development process once my images have returned from a one-hour photo lab. The destruction that occurs to my photographs allows me to question how much of an image can still be present before a memory is lost or forgotten.

Typically the one-hour photo lab has been associated with photographs of family gatherings, events, and candid moments. Contrary to this stereotypical subject matter, I approach my work from a more conceptual perspective. These portraits reference traditional environmental portraiture of the 20th century and vernacular photography, while challenging the historic interpretation of a photographic image.

This collection of portraits becomes a family of its own, fabricating its own story. Truthfully, the lie of it all is more honest, because I have created it.