Randall Whitehead

Photography has been a key part of my whole adult life. When attending college, I was greatly influenced by the work of Diane Arbus who captured the images of people on the fringes of society. Culturally, New York City, where she took most of her photographs seemed to be a million miles away from Delaware, where I grew up. Her striking images have a sad dignity. I am more drawn to the joy and pride of people who don’t fit neatly into a category present themselves to the camera.

My focus has always been on the portrait photography. There’s something about a person’s face, when captured in an unguarded moment, that reveals a glimpse of their true personality. When being photographed, people tend to put on their ‘photo face’. It is a look that we have conjured up after seeing ourselves in other photographs or in the mirror. It’s that frozen expression you hold onto tightly until the flash goes off. This is really just a mask. It exposes have very little about the subject. My job is to take portraits that engage the viewer, hoping people who see these images will think,” I’d like to know that person”.

Something else that had a huge impact on me was one particular episode of the Twilight Zone, called After Hours’. It is about mannequins that take turns coming to life and live as humans for a limited amount of time. This is what inspired my book, Lost Dolls, and then later on my series called Almost Human.