The work of Toronto-based photographer Mark Peckmezian expands the visual discourse of portraiture. This genre is steeped in a specific visual language and history that can be easily read and understood at a surface level even when an image contains more nuanced gestures. Images in Portrait evoke the classic poses and framing techniques of historical portraiture, offering a commentary on the portrait’s ability to frame cultural conventions; each portrait encapsulates not just a person, but also a time and place.
Drawing on portraiture’s remarkable ability to appear straightforward while examining a whole social order in its historical specificity, Peckmezian creates portraits that give the impression of the past, but are inherently contemporary. His portraits of friends and acquaintances depict his milieu through a contemporary aesthetic with roots in the traditional. Peckmezian’s precise images are posed, framed, and shot with the exactness of a Renaissance painter and every aspect of the portrait is considered: model placement, direction of light, and architectural surroundings. It is his unique, contemporary articulation of historical tropes that locates Peckmezian’s portraits in the visual discourse of the 21st century.