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George, b. 1943 (from the Landscapes of a Lifetime series)

Mike Byrnside2017

Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery

Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery
Washington, D.C., United States

The face of an older man emerges from the darkness. He meets our gaze directly before our eyes wander across the rest of his face, which is rendered in crisp focus. His frown, the hair falling sideways over his forehead, his white beard, and his tight lips offer themselves as a record of this individual’s existence.

As a photographer who is also a veteran of the armed forces and a machinist, nurse, and air traffic controller, Mike Byrnside loves the intimacy of portraiture—how the genre can be a vehicle for people to get to know one another. George, b. 1943 is from a series of photographs of senior citizens entitled Landscapes of a Lifetime. Shot in black and white, with a single light source, the resulting images are full of contrast and rich in texture. The wrinkles, spots, and lines of expression emphasize each sitter’s unique life experiences.

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