The Q-Tip Project

The Qtip Project.

What Katherine Head of the Seaside Signal had to say:

I hate having my picture taken.  I prefer to be the one behind the camera.  But I will surrender to creative enterprise every now and again so that I never lose sight of what my subjects endure.  It keeps me humble.  But when asked by local photographer Don Frank to put a Q-tip in my ear and let him snap away, I felt a little nervous.

I’m not particularly photogenic to begin with – but that’s many people’s excuse.  As a photographer, I know that to not be true.  Everyone is photographable.  Everyone has a story to tell, and it can be relayed without words.  But sometimes there needs to be a distraction for the person to share the truth.  Hence, the Q-tip.

Frank chose fellow artists to sit for the Q-tip project, 26 in all.  Despite the near identical setup, the resulting portraits are as different as each artist.  Some are whimsical, some are contemplative, some are mysterious.  But they are all interesting.  A seemingly banal task, a simple part of many people’s every day routine, yielded surprising art.

The task for photographers is to convey the world through unique perspective. Oftentimes it entails capturing the mundane in an innovative way.  Hopefully, it also elicits an emotional response from an audience.  As with all art -and yes, photography is an art form- the goal is to manifest reaction.  If we’re lucky, we make people think.  It might be difficult for some viewers to get beyond a Q-tip. Hopefully they do, because beyond that small piece of cotton on a stick is something entirely human.

My own portrait is silly to me.  But the artist called it “angelic.”  I’ve never deemed myself angelic by any means, but perhaps there is a side of me that strives to be.  I’ve seen my photo twice now, and it is a struggle not to be critical of all the imperfections caught on film, but rather see the image as a whole.  If it weren’t me, I would wonder about the girl in the picture.  She looks a little mischievous, in my opinion.  I would wonder what she was thinking at the moment the photo was taken.  I’d believe her to be outgoing and maybe even a little eccentric.

Photography is a wondrous craft.  I feel privileged to have chosen it as my medium. Although I still don’t enjoy being photographed, I find it very enriching to go through the process and see the result.  I have come to the conclusion that Don Frank is the Willy Wonka of photography, and it was a joy to be a part of his creation.

“We are the music makers and we are the dreamers of dreams.”  -Willy Wonka