Project info

This group of portraits shows the process and result of an effort to combine photographic techniques with the divination technique of the Four Pillars of Destiny, in an effort to reflect both the representational image and the psychological domain of the subject.

The origin of the word “portrait” is the Latin word protrahere (to drag out). The French form of the word is portraire, a combination of pore (pro- or before) and trahere (to pull). The word in its current usage was derived from the meanings “to draw a line” and “to draw” before it reached the meaning of “portrait.”

When I learned the history of this word, I began thinking about commonalities between the two arts I had studied, portrait photography and divination, and realized that each was a process of “drawing out” the temperament, emotion and thought of the subject other. I immediately started attempting an artistic expression that would combine the two.

For example, for a “fire” person I would attempt to represent their burning enthusiasm, for an “earth” person the firmness and persistence of their will. In other words, I have succeeded in finding a manner of expressing aspects of the individual human temperament that lie hidden to the naked eye.

In general, portraits reduce a three-dimensional human being to two dimensions, but this process sacrifices information of a high order of importance. These portraits instead expand three dimensions into four, attempting as far as possible to eliminate the distance between portraiture and the sensation of ordinary experience.

The completed image displays a diversity of perspectives that cannot be shown in a single portrait photograph. If you, the viewer, have been able to feel even a slight sense of the overwhelming information that lies hidden within a human being, this project will have been a success.