Now I’m not really cunning with a camera per se, but having made too many portraits of people over the decades to count, I know virtually ALL the tricks to get flattering smiles out of people. For example, when you meet really stiff, fake, forced smiles in your viewfinder, you show people how to take a deep breath and relax (which fixes most ..but not all). For others still needing nerves calmed, you show by example by shaking out the jitters and getting loose (which fixes more remainder …but still not all). So then, (here’s the magic) you take the picture and then say “OK got it!” Then, in THAT moment, that millisecond of time AFTER you told them that you got the shot, THAT’S when they finally relax and smile, and THAT’S the shot you want. FIRE! BOOM! NAILED IT! Not to brag or anything, but that’s just a ninja-level trick you have up your sleeve after doing this so many times. It’s not manipulative per se, but it is a little bit of puppet mastery, or snake-charming, for lack of better words.
But every once in a while you get a kinda Pincnochio of character in front of your lens, the unwieldy energy of a marionette come to life, a soulful scarecrow unaware of its own heart, nobly compelled but tragically unequipped to protect us from fire, an untamable bucking wild horse, the own-beat artist, the enigma. No amount of your photographic trickery can fix a smile on them, and you’re left only with one option: Surrender.
…which is what I did with Poet Taylor Mingon who, from what few but sparkling facets I have glimpsed whenever meeting him in recent years, can’t simply be dismissed here as being awkward in front of the camera. He’s much more likely striking a powerful and emotional pose, the beautifully menacing and distinctive “Mie” [見得] of Kabuki (and possibly Butoh) theatre. Performative, he might be offering us all an interpretation of how excellent he feels this Mikami Kan record is. I admit, I’m more than certainly intrigued now. I’ll have to give it a listen but I’m guessing I’ll need to prepare the pallet for this one, and will no doubt become more __(?) from having heard it.
Thanks always, Taylor. Quite a photo. Quite a pose.
More TRS on the way!
三上寛 [Mikami Kan] – ひらく夢などあるじゃなし
Label: Pony Canyon – PCCA-50057
Format: CD, Album, Reissue
Released: Feb 18, 2009
Style: Folk Rock
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