The Likeness Project – Outcomes


My photography exhibition, The Likeness Project, has now closed for viewing. Still, I would like the idea’s provocation and the debate to carry on.

general view of the exhibition set up at St James Cavalier, Centre for Creativity

General view of the exhibition set up at St James Cavalier, Centre for Creativity

In fact, from the amount of comments and interest the work has generated, I have decided to soon post all comments on this blog. This will serve to evaluate the outcomes and reflection that came out from this concept.

I would like to take the opportunity to thank all those who visited the exhibition and took time to write down their views. A big thanks also goes to the persons who kindly co-operated and accepted to be photographed for the project.

I have now posted below a few of the exhibits for those who for some reason or other did not manage to view it.

It is also with pleasure that I can announce I will now be exhibiting this project at the London Hilton in January 2013.

The debate goes on….








View also Vanadium Avenue blog –


2 thoughts on “The Likeness Project – Outcomes

  1. “A portrait is not a likeness. The moment an emotion or fact is transformed into a photograph it is no longer a fact but an opinion. There is no such thing as inaccuracy in a photograph. All photographs are accurate. None of them is the truth. ” – Richard Avedon

    This is one of the quotes seen at the Likeness project debate, at the St.James Cavalier.An exhibition that surprised me with its direct approach. The exhibits portrays a number of people, wearing a black top, in front of a white backdrop, using no particular props besides studio lighting. Each character had the same set of images taken of them. These images portrayed them from different angles and perspectives, yet there is little or no emotion in any of the individuals being portrayed. Hence, I felt that this particular quote encapsulated most of the concept being displayed through this exhibition.

    Prior to reading the description and the artists statement I decided to sit down and tried to absorb what such images could mean; thoughts that crossed my mind were: truth,simplicity, record and mystery, ancient. I wondered who these characters are and what they do in life and why were they particularly chosen for the Likeness project. The images exhibited provided no answers to my questions.

    These characters could be people of authority or regular individuals which one comes across each day, however, I could not satisfy my curiosity as not even their name is written beneath the images. A question that kept resurfacing was, “What do they signify?”

    I finally decided to read more about the project, and to understand better the artists vision. The artist stated that “A Likeness” rarely attempted to show anything more than a similarity and a record of the person”, such images were taken in the early days of photography, where the sitters were made to sit for long periods of time (three to five minutes) and not permitted to move, therefore, the images produced consisted of people showing no emotion or reaction to the photographer; an example of such are the daguerreotypes.

    As Casha stated himself he has gone back to the routes of portraiture to eliminate all the superficial elements that are being used in todays portraits, yet by doing so he has went back to “depicting only the face or head and shoulders” nothing else; I tend to believe that an emotion would have helped to give better insight about the person and given the viewer more to reflect on.

    Casha, presented a book at the exhibition for people to leave their own comments about the project and their own reflections, this in itself was a good idea as it invites the viewer to also participate in the exhibition and express what works and what doesn’t. However, when viewing the comments that were done(up to the date I visited the exhibition) I felt that the purpose of the book was not being used to it’s potential.

    I believe that if the images were to have been exhibited on a larger scale, they would have left a bigger impact on the audience. Nevertheless, In my opinion I think that the main objective of this exhibition was projected well, and I left the exhibition with food for thought.

  2. When people “assess” the characters of others, they gather ideas from a wide range of non-verbal clues. Clothing, accessories, their height and proportion, hair style and makeup, posture and the position of the hands, etc… People’s facial expressions provide so much information about themselves. Also, everyone “acts” how he wants to be seen by others, and it doesn’t always present his true inner self. We consciously or unconsciously wear social and cultural masks according to the circumstance we find ourselves in.

    When those elements are completely removed, which is how the portraits in Kevin’s “Likeness Project” are presented, we lose those surface clues — and with it our ability to “see” others.

    I looked at each portrait for quite a long time, trying to see the characters and features of each individual.

    I was able to see external characteristics, such as a hunched back and head thrust forward in the silhouette photos (does the model suffer from bad posture after long hours at a desk?), a strained neck (uncomfortable for the model?), tired puffy eyes (tired?), etc. And we could perhaps estimate their ages from the wrinkles around their eyes and mouth, skin tone and hair.

    However, I was not able to sense their personality, whether they were in a good mood or not, if they were happy or angry, an extravert or an introvert. I felt that the portraits were like a collection of “facial profiles” that did not reflect the subject’s ego but only the presentation of how they physically look. I thought these models were not trying to communicate to the audience. It felt like they were trying to be blank and emotionally void.

    But at the same time, I felt the portraitures revealed some sort of essence of the individuals, something that exists separately from the way they are viewed, just being there in front of the camera. A view of them in a more biological sense, without the influence of one’s ego.

    In the exhibition, Kevin asked viewers to comment on people they didn’t recognize. But I was more intrigued to see the way that people I know in person looked different in these portraits. I know their physical features, occupation, the clothes they tend to wear, and how they speak. But in the portraits, the filter of their social status didn’t exist, and I felt we were all equal as physical beings.

    It was very interesting to compare the images between the printed portraitures and model shoot photos Kevin produced on TV. Each image on TV had a clear message derived from the model and the photographer. There was a reason to shoot, and a specific way that the photographer and model wanted the image to be seen. They were full of personal and cultural expressions embedded in the images that try to control the experience of viewers. On the other hand, the printed portraitures didn’t cry out for attention, but gave you the opportunity to ponder and paint the life of each individual.

    In a materialistic society, our thoughts are controlled by superficial memes. Perhaps we’ve lost the ability to truly “see” people, failing to know who they really are beneath the roles they play and the masks they wear?

    Tomoko Goto

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