On Craneface



Craneface has been (and remains) one of my most successful images to date, which is why I shamelessly use it for just about everything. Because of its ambiguous elements, it is also one of the pictures about which I get the most questions. The practical function of a portrait is to show a person’s face, an element that acts as an emblem of individuality. However, by masking the face, as I have done in this image, one’s individuality is removed or suppressed, and exchanged for another’s.

The Craneface, to me, is a juxtaposition of two different notions of work. I purposely used a suit as the basis of the figure because it connotes images of the modern worker and is the uniform of choice for bureaucracies around the world. I see the suit as representing this faceless notion of work, one in which we all just become squirrels fighting for the largest nut beneath the corporate tree. The origami cranes, on the other hand, represent an intimate notion of work, as origami is something that must be made by hand. There is no machine that can fold origami for you. Anyone who has ever folded even simple origami knows it can be frustrating process that requires a human’s touch.

When I shot Craneface I was in the midst of trying to decide whether or not I wanted to walk the paved path of a nine to five, or if I wanted to cut my way through the jungle that is fine art. This is a question I am still grappling with today, and perhaps the act of hiding my face behind the cranes reflects on my indecision. Alternatively, one could also read the image as a statement that says, “I have become my work and wish to be recognized for my art (that which I have created with my hands), rather than with my face.”

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