Xavier Tavera uses photographs to tell real and imagined stories about people. Each of his projects gives him the opportunity to carefully analyze people in a way which would be too intrusive without the filter of the camera or the written word. Look at a portrait of someone. It does not have to be someone you know. Now, write their portrait in 10-15 sentences. Your written portrait should include a description of the subject’s appearance, but also aspects of their character that tell their story.
Photograph four people and ask them to reveal, through their facial expression and posture alone, “what’s buried inside them” for the camera. Rather than having the subjects express “sadness” or “happiness,” get them to try to capture an entire feeling, like “my dog just died,” or “it’s a snow day!” Snap two or three photographs of each person expressing different feelings and then have them view each other’s portraits and write captions for them. Could the participants easily deduce the story that was being told by the others?