artist statement

Publisher John Wiseman in his garden, Morelos, Mexico
Moving Portrait

Publisher John Wiseman in his garden, Morelos, Mexico


Moving Portraits 

Adam Wiseman 


Moving Portraits is a series of filmed portraits of approximately one minute each, where the subject is unaware that they are being filmed. 

Wiseman momentarily deceives his subjects asking them to pose for a portrait. The setting is almost always their home, studio or garden. After choosing an appropriate spot he places the camera on a tripod, frames the shot, fiddles a bit... and finally makes some excuse to leave, usually to retrieve a better lens. The subject is then left alone with the camera that is in fact filming them without their knowledge. After the session, Wiseman returns and proceeds to take a proper portrait he then reveals what he has done. 

The subjects of these portraits are visual artists, musicians, curators, photographers, writers, dancers: people who are more accustomed to observe than to be observed. The result is a series of introspective, quiet, intimate moments when people are most self-absorbed. Moving Portraits is an extended version of the Cartier Bresson´s "decisive moment". These portraits appeal to the voyeuristic tendency of seeing a person who is unaware that they are being watched. It is at the same time awkward and captivating to watch. 

The series also includes portraits of each subject posing after they were filmed. These traditional portraits are a counterpoint to the filmed series where the subjects have their “mask” on… ready to present themselves to the photographer. This simple idea addresses and challenges the traditional language of documentary photography. In this case the goal of capturing the essence of a person in an objective way is achieved through deceit.