Contact by Jake Shivery

Monograph featuring Portland photographer Jake Shivery’s 8x10 contact portraits; 1/2 plates and 1/2 extensive essay. 9x12inches, 160 pgs. Perfect bound, foil embossed cover. 57 plates + 37 additional images in the text. Limited edition of 1000. Produced and printed in Portland Ore.

8x10 Contact Portraits

Drawn to Oregon for the soft and diffused light, I’ve become solidly entrenched here because of the people.  I’m interested in folks who are genuine and unique. I’m interested in craftspeople, passionate people and people of deep commitment and faith. I don’t care to speculate on what about the Northwest United States causes such a concentration of these types; I’m just pleased to be here.

I can’t shoot enough. I can’t hope to keep my work flow moving at the same pace at which I meet individuals who interest me. Even within the confines of my less-than-social life, I barely go a day without meeting someone whom I’d like to photograph. I am delighted to have a subject pool which persistently motivates me, not just to work, but to maddening passion. I keep working and hope for the best.

I am now unrepentant in my sole interest in the small subset of photography which may be referred to as formal portraiture. I appreciate all forms of photography and steal liberally from all that I see — every landscape, every still life, every street-oriented hip-shot that makes me stop and look- eventually distills down into a portrait.

Many people whom I know are resistant to being photographed. I try to embrace this resistance and capture it as part of the portrait.  Ironically, this resistance often combines with cooperation, causes some of the formality, and yields a finished portrait. I shoot with large format because it takes effort — it’s a very simple way of implying to subjects that I’m serious and that I have the best of intentions.

Most importantly, I’m impressed with everyone I photograph. Ultimately, this is my declaration of affection and admiration for the people that I’m fortunate enough to know.

“Contact Portraits” refers to the technique of printing directly from the negative and producing a print of the same size, in this case, eight inches by ten inches.  A long established photographic practice, contact printing does not rely on enlarging, and best maintains the integrity of the original negative.  All images are contact printed onto selenium-toned fibre paper for exceptional archivability.  The resulting work is heavily influenced by this process–oriented approach: the pieces are still, formative and meditative.  These posed portraits represent modern subjects interacting with traditional, craft-based technology, creating a unique set of circumstances that lean toward being simultaneously formal and intimate.

Video: Jake, in 5 parts by Oliver Ogden

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