I went to a lovely talk on Saturday at MGA.
Rod McNicol’s portraiture is quite amazing. His very unique style makes for photographs that draw you very deeply into the gaze, yet the amount of information is kept to a very bare minimum. His sitters are generally sitting square to the camera in a head and shoulders frame, and stare blankly and very directly into the camera. There is a sensation in almost every image that you the viewer are peering into the eyes trying to find a connection, the sitter in the image is doing the same to you. You walk the exhibition space and start to feel a little paranoid about these people staring directly at you, not speaking and just observing. The images seem to have a ‘cruel tenderness’ about them. By that I mean there is a ‘cruel’ hardness and formalness in the image. The sitter not smiling and square to the camera having their image taken like they were to appear as a mug shot on television; then you look deeper into the image and the ‘tenderness’ of the sitter starts to come through and steals your breath just slightly as you connect to them.
Please visit the gallery and take a closer look for yourself. These images will stop you in your tracks.