As a photographer my first reaction was to see before and after photos. There wasn’t any — but what if there was? And this is what sparked the idea to photograph the DTS students. I figured if something like this could happen, I wonder what other physical changes could have happened that go unnoticed.
The style of the series was inspired by the simplicity and the truthfulness behind an expressionless portrait, I decided that it was the best way to document the progress of each individual. My goal was to eliminate all superfluous elements. Through this you can more easily distinguish the subtle, yet telling, differences over the course of a DTS. For example, the difference in posture may indicate increased confidence or esteem; slight variations in the eyes may signify curiosity or better understanding; but, all these details are made much more distinct and clear with the removal of typical portrait nuances.
I simply asked them to look into the lens and not smile. Typically, that is our first reaction when a camera is pointed at us is to smile. Trained from birth we react instinctually in this way to “put on our best face.” I was not interested in that. Rather, I wanted to capture a true and lasting impression of each person, creating bookmarks of the past to serve as a reminder of what God has done in their lives.
The comparisons are taken from each phase of the project and placed adjacently in chronological order.
– Phase 1: Before DTS
– Phase 2: After Lecture Phase (First half of DTS)
– Phase 3: After Outreach Phase (Completion of Course)