French photographer David Bertram’s latest group of images are portraits of self-portraits, Claytime presents people who were asked to model their own faces out of clay.
“The Art of the portrait is often associated with the idea that the eyes of the pictured person are a window on his soul, his inner truth. Only eyes can really say that much ? This question is the basis of the work that is presented here, which offers a more psychological than physical lighting of each subject. I got inspired by an psychology exercise that involves asking the patient to model his own face out of a piece of clay, to unconsciouly reveal
his own traits, its complex, its fears, in short, his psychic identity to his analyst.
This playful exercise gave its name to the series, Claytime, which presents different people all having modeled their own faces in clay. Despite
differing modeling abilities, their faces are in some cases, rough, in other perfectly crafted, but always revealing.
In a second step, I photographed these people, inside their homes, within a framework that defines them both personally and socially, and
offers several clues about their personalities. Subsequently, a photo montage allowed me to replace their “real” faces by their mental projections in clay. Once placed on the shoulders, the head of clay either contrasts with the body which receives it, or rather is an almost organic extension of this body, mysteriously revealing the forces that espouse or oppose in the person’s mind, the game between subjective and objective acting as a revelator of the soul… A kind of X-ray of the mind. I chose to light those pictures in a rather painting mood and often privileged static poses in order to give each portrait the expression of an ancient statue, frozen in time as the remains of a personality, memory of the real identity, the one that never changes.”