A video of a thirty-minute portrait drawing projected onto a pad of paper, with a continuous audio loop that reveals the subject’s response to the completed portrait.
“Do you think it looks like you?”
“I think it does look like me.
I think it’s an interesting perspective on my face because it seems like my forehead is shorter than maybe it really is. The bottom part of my face seems quite large. But I think that could just be a little bit of the angle. Are my eyes in the middle of the oval that forms my face? Hard to tell—maybe they are, but in any case I do think it looks like me.
My nose seems rather fleshy, but . . . but, I think, like I say, the part of my face here, below my forehead seems to be quite marked and the forehead seems kind of tilted backward—that seems to be the effect that’s going on. My nose—my sister Asha—her nose, it seems like it’s kind of like her nose.
My hair looks very messy, but it’s good. I like it. I like the way the various strands are defined, you know, up here, behind that blurred part. It’s quite good. But to answer the question really, just really bluntly, I do think it looks like me. Definitely.
I think that my lips—I know that my lips are chapped. I know that I’ve been picking at them. So you’ve nicely left out, I think, this part of my lip that’s been gnawed on all day. But I think it’s a successful rendering. I do.
You know, the eyes—the eyes are good—the only thing I might say is that, well, it seems like when you really start to look up close—they don’t maybe look exactly the same—but maybe eyes don’t. The glasses are good.
I’m wondering if my neck is really that, that sort of—there’s a fleshiness to it—but maybe I’m getting kind of fleshy now that I’m thirty-five years old.
But it’s good. I like it.”
I Am a Bad Camera, Ellen Harvey, 2001. Digital video (color, sound, 30 min.). Edition: 5 plus 2 artist’s proofs. Videography: Jan Baracz. Installation view, Strangers/Étrangers, National and International Studio Program Exhibition, P.S.1/MoMA Clocktower Gallery, New York, April 26–June 9, 2001. Photography: Ellen Harvey Studio.