Doug DuBois: The Intimate Photograph

Saturday, October 3, and Saturday, October 17, 2015 Aperture Foundation
547 West 27th Street, 4th Floor
New York, N.Y.


“In the end, we may come to the conclusion that intimacy cannot be photographed directly (as we experience it) because, quite simply, the camera is always in the way. The trick, perhaps, is to understand intimacy as an imaginary space—an illusion that exploits our very real longing for a profound and authentic encounter with another.”
—Doug DuBois


In October, Doug DuBois hosted a two-part workshop designed to help photographers dissect the elements that create intimate photographs. On the first day, students brought in two images: one had to evoke a sense of intimacy, and the other a lack of intimacy. Each student shared their two images with the class and explained why they deemed one to be more intimate than the other. After the discussion, DuBois shared a number of photographers’ and cinematographers’ work that he believed illustrate closeness between photographer, subject, and viewer. These images prompted an extensive conversation about the rhetoric, tropes, and challenges of making intimate photographs. DuBois explained that it is important to recognize that an intimate photograph is made, not simply captured.
Later in the afternoon, participants presented their portfolios while DuBois led a group critique. Each student received individualized feedback and was given a specific assignment to complete, which they then presented during the second session, two weeks later. While sharing their new images, participants discussed the challenges and successes of creating intimate photographs.


Doug DuBois (born in Dearborn, Michigan, 1960) has photographs in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; and Los Angeles County Museum of Art. He has received fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, MacDowell Colony, and National Endowment for the Arts. DuBois has exhibited at the J. Paul Getty Museum and MoMA, The Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin and the Museo d’Arte Contemporanea di Roma in Italy. He has photographed for magazines, including the New York Times Magazine, Time, Details, and GQ. He has published two books with Aperture: All the Days and Nights in 2009 and My Last Day at Seventeen, which will be available in the fall of 2015. DuBois teaches in the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University and in the Limited Residency MFA program at Hartford Art School.



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