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© Elaine Mayes, 1988
"This series of images came about because when MTV came along it meant live performances were over for many fans, including me. The series began when, in 1983, I turned on the TV set and discovered Deborah Harry singing. I got out my Nikon and its macro lens, put them on a tripod and framed the TV set with a little space around the image to include the set. I felt excited about the idea of taking pictures of musicians I loved. I was intrigued by the idea of having a sense of intimacy with some of my heroes. I wanted to find moments when the person was looking out at the camera like a regular portrait. People on television rarely look out at the camera (audience) unless they are commentators or talk show hosts, so finding moments when these musicians appeared to be looking out at me was difficult and not always possible.
I like the idea that I can make a photograph of someone who is known primarily through television. I like noticing the color of someone's eyes. I like using the TV as reality and part of reality. The images on TV just go by like time does, but in that flow like life, there are possible portraits. I like the way the phosphor dots of the TV screen show in the photos I take, an effect not normally visible to the naked eye. I like the way I realize I am taking a photograph of a frame from a film/video that shows a person who appears to have been seen only by me. I like how these images seem to illuminate the reasons people often feel they know their favorite music stars without having met them in person. I also like the way these images cannot really be seen on television when watching since the time passing factor prohibits the 'seeing' of the individual photographs during the flow, as one image passes so quickly that our perception sees the movement but not the separate images." -- Elaine Mayes