Caroline Gibson and I had never met before I photographed her. I had no expectations of the imagery we produced at our first meeting. In fact, I thought it was me who was doing her a favor. My wife, Heather, had seen Linny’s artwork and wanted to help her by arranging for its exhibition at a nearby art center. Heather ‘volunteered’ my services to produce newspaper publicity prints for that show.
Linny knocked on our door after dinner one evening and proceeded to unpack her artwork in our living room. She was employed by a local hardware store. The pieces she laid on our rug blended off-the-shelf, hardware inventory with organic materials such as leather, wax, and sticks. They suggested rituals, perhaps those of a priestess, even though some of it was discomforting for me.
I sensed Linny’s integrity and responded to the intensity of her passion. I found myself unpacking more and more equipment. Soon our living room was cluttered with my photo gear and her artwork. My pictures, which were supposed to depict her artwork, evolved into images of Linny interacting with her sculpture. Ultimately one of these photographs became her portrait, although I didn’t recognize it as such at the time. The next day I simply made Linny’s publicity prints, archived the negatives, and moved on to address other concerns.
Years later, when searching for photographs to include in an exhibit of my own, I rediscovered this image. This time I was able to see this portrait in a different context. It helped me realize that those who follow their passion are on the road to self-discovery. I learned that when people fuse Inspiration with Integrity, they produce an expression of Identity.
Linny had left me a gift. She helped me learn that this is exactly what portraiture is all about. And, quite unexpectedly, my inadvertent, first, sculptor portrait eventually became the cover of my book, FACING SCULPTURE: A Portfolio of Portraits, Sculpture and Related Ideas.