Intimate and intimidating at the same time. That is portrait photography.
Portraits have several functions that go beyond the immediate purpose of recording a likeness. They denote status, power and wealth, convey the construction of dress and fashion and give insight to personality and psychology, taking account of the codes of public and private portraiture and the conventions of male and female portrayal.
A portrait stands or falls with the meeting between portraitist and the 'sitter' , the one who is being portrayed. A connection must be created between them that is established through an interest in the other and based on mutual trust.
A portrait is a perception of the visible self. But there are more perceptions at play than just those of the photographer. The photographed person also plays a role: how does he or she see themselves? The end-user, the viewer, also perceives and influences the portrait.
How do you reveal what's happening on the inside, if all you can show is the outside?
The question of perception is a primordial question of photography: "What do I see?" The portraits of Ilya challenge to "see" differently, to consciously perceive, to search for different layers and to think about the moment when the shutter closed. Did that moment take a millisecond, a day or maybe two weeks? For example, in the portrait of the Van der Borch family, the image is the result of weeks of concentrated work, holding on to tension and allowing spontaneity when the opportunity presented itself.
With the portrait of Van Uhm, you assume that he mourns the loss of his son. But it is different. The original question has no definitive answer. She is a question with countless answers. Ilya's answers, his answers, invite viewers to think about this question. This small website is an invitation:
What do you see?