By Ian Summers & Dave Moser
I invited my coach of seven years, Ian Summers to help present this love story to my blogpost readers. This was our take.
It has been two years since Dave Moser’s client, who for reasons of privacy wishes to remain anonymous, invited Dave to create portraits of people he loves – people who matter in his life. The client wanted to be surrounded by the faces of people who mean the most to him.
His vision was to look up from his desktop in the middle of his intense day’s work to make eye contact with some of the most significant people in his life. His family is included. So is his loyal, lifelong automobile mechanic, an award winning novelist, and other dear friends. Dave accepted the challenge to create an expressionistic, emotional, raw, and honest look for the series.
I met this man back in 1999 and have photographed for his company on and off throughout our relationship. He is a Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. A couple of years ago, he invited me to lunch and I took the opportunity to show him my portfolio. A friendship grew.
I showed him my recent work and he got excited about the RWA project (Ready, Willing & Able) that I had just completed. He is an art collector and has purchased scores of paintings that enhance the environment of his company’s headquarters and residences. He did not really think of photography as an art form until then. His tastes were expanding from decorative landscape to more modern work. I think he was opening up emotionally. That’s why he connected with the RWA project.
He responded to these RWA images:
Ready, Willing and Able is the Philadelphia chapter of the national organization The Doe Fund, a privately funded transitional program for recovering addicts, ex-convicts and the formerly homeless.
My client invited me to have a one man show to celebrate his firm’s 25th anniversary. There was an image that was on the wall for that month; the freckled Caucasian man shown above. He really connected with this portrait. A short time later, he commissioned me to photograph him and a man who was working on his residence for over forty years.
I developed a process/treatment that deconstructs beauty or expected appearances, and invites the viewer to relate to the unique energy subjects offer through expression and gesture. The extreme detail, not ordinarily seen by human eyes, breaks with expected conventions. This is further emphasized by the abstraction of black and white. I believe others see our energy long before they see the things we have obsessed about in the mirror since adolescents. When seen in the body of this work, we are invited to accept a new visual language as a way to connect with the subjects. Through this new visual language you see their beauty, their humanity.
The client ordered four 16 x 24 prints that were framed only with glass. At first he had all three of them up. He took his picture down and placed it behind the door. In January 2012 he sent me this email:
I want 25 portraits of friends and family all hung at the same level and the same size I think it would bless my office an life in a special way. As you know, I already have four shots like this and all of the photographs show their inner light, character and soul. I have come to learn through Dave that photography can be art. His portraits let you inside the person’s heart and soul and affect me. I wanted the real time experience of my friends. I am grateful for your authenticity, your creative genius, intuition and so much more.
At this point, I was unaware of how this project would grow to over one hundred portraits taking me to Scotsdale, Orlando, Atlanta, Louisville, NYC via limo, and two trips to Nantucket on a private jet with my family. This was indeed becoming a dream job.
Early in the project my client scared and honored me at the same time. He said, “Yes David. You are going on the wall. I am very grateful to you! You are changing my life. “
Making a self-portrait for this project was certainly a learning experience.
I was honored to part of the collection and to be considered one of my client’s closest friends — one of the sixty. In looking at this image, I see what he sees in me[ his experience of me. I didn’t pull any punches in terms of the detail and treatment. I don’t really see the imperfections in myself. I see the expression in my eyes and slight gesture of my head. Obviously, I am a photographer and I have a different way of seeing things.