Soul Portraits in Second Life

Itakos Project: Soul Portraits

Currently open at the Itakos Project, curated by Akim Alonzo, is an exhibition entitled Soul Portraits. Featuring the work of ten individual photographers and one couple, it’s an exhibition that evokes – for me at least – mixed feelings.

To frame the exhibition, it is easiest to quote the introductory note card:

With this exhibition we celebrate 4 years of life of the Soul Portraits-Itakos Art Gallery group on the Flickr platform, with more than 5700 photos published by about 250 photographers registered in the group. A collective exposition that focuses on female portraits, and the selected artists all have a particular and personal eye on the emotions that a second life avatar can express. Feminine looks that touch, sometimes deep and inextricable, or tender, half-closed or hidden eyes, looks that wander beyond or that stare at you, questioning your soul.

Itakos Project: Moloe Vansant

The selected participating artists for the exhibition are: Mr. S, Sonic, Roberta Barineaux, Miuccia Klaar, Katia Lavecchia, Charlie Namiboo, Izabela Navarathna, Maloe Vansant, Lula Yue, and the pairing of CFaleny and Moki Yuitza, who between them have a total of 30 images on display, with the majority having three images apiece within the exhibition.

I will admit that in viewing the works, I tended to have something of a personal bias; three of the artists participating in Soul Portraits – Mr. S, Charlie Namiboo and Moloe Vansant – never cease to fascinate me with their work; they have the ability to frame entire stories within their photographs I find incredibly alluring. As so it is the case here, where I immediately gravitated towards Maloe’s four pieces as they formed pair bracketing the three from Mr. S at one end of the gallery’s  Grey Pavilion.

Itakos Project: Akim Alonso

Which is not to say narrative isn’t present in any of the other pieces on offer; far from it; there are stories or threads of stories to be found within many of the pieces in the exhibit; and those that don’t perhaps carry a full narrative do convey emotions and provoke a subjective response – which as the liner notes indicate, is the goal of the exhibition.

However, I do confess to finding the similarity in approach to many of the images – a close focus on head shots sans broader background – coupled with their close proximity to one another, for me tended to lessen the overall impact of individual pieces.

But this aside, Soul Portraits is a further engaging exhibition at Itakos Project.

Itakos Project: Mr. S

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5 thoughts on “Soul Portraits in Second Life

  1. Thanks again for a wonderful tour of SL art. I do have one question about your review. You wrote…

    “However, I do confess to finding the similarity in approach to many of the images – a close focus on head shots sans broader background – coupled with their close proximity to one another, for me tended the overall impact of individual pieces.”

    Isn’t a close focus on head shots the very definition of portraits?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, portraits are not necessarily just the face; they can encompass the upper body, the full body, etc. They can be taken against background (as indeed some are), just so long as the face / expression is the predominant feature.

      However, my reservation – perhaps not well framed in the review – is not that these are close-up head shots, but that a number of them are of a very similar styling (face on a plain white background, for example). Thus, when placed side-by-side, rather than standing as individual pieces eliciting an emotional response, they became somewhat blurred through their similarity, such as the way mesh heads so often lead to many avatars having the same set and look to their lips resulting in – dare I say it – the trout pout.

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      1. I agree with you 100% here. Regarding the pout when i try to turn in into a smile by turning up the edge of the lips, instead of a smile I get that Mona Lisa smirk.


    2. “Isn’t a close focus on head shots the very definition of portraits?”

      Yes, Mark, in the traditional sense it is indeed. However, in a journalistic, storytelling sense we wanna show the subject in a greater context. Example: Portrait of a firefighter. I wanna show the whole person, or upper body, wearing uniform, in front of his fire engine, best with the station in the background.

      Just some pretty noggins are telling us nothing.

      Your portrait, as we see it with your comment, works well as just a headshot since you’re sporting your captains hat. And we get a hunch of some water and sky in the background. It shows us an honorable older statesmen of the SL Sailing Community. Context established.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Totally agree with you Orca. I was using portrait in the narrow dictionary meaning. to keep my point focused (the first journalist instinct). I should have resisted that instinct and broadened the meaning of “Portrait”) (i.e. a painting/photograph that tells a story about the subject of the image)

        Thank you for the kind comment about my portrait..

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