Artist Statement: Steve Pyke

I have spent the past twenty-five years looking into the faces of the famous, the infamous, the well to do and the dispossessed. Signaling our emotions and suggesting our cultural background, our faces silently speak realms about our identities and how we present ourselves. It is the naked part that we present, a personal canvas that we exhibit to the world. Our faces anchor us to our histories, our stories, and the stories of our ancestors. As we absorb time and experiences, the way we live our lives is etched into the landscape of our faces. We create the face with which we live.

My life in photography began primarily through working editorially. Working as a staff photographer at The New Yorker magazine gives me the immediacy of making portraits and seeing them appear in an editorial context and this has always surprised and stimulated me. Editorial assignments exist side by side with my personal work. I continue to photograph people I feel are witnesses of our time. I learnt early on the importance of research . . . This is crucial and helps both the sitter and photographer find a connection within the portrait process.

The relationship between a photographer and a sitter . . . that nondecisive moment: that encounter, that exchange, is often brief, but the image which we make of those moments can be the way a person is remembered beyond their own lifetime, remaining long after the voice has been forgotten. Each time I look through my camera and gaze into the face of my sitter, it’s like another planet to be explored. I have many questions, but the ones that intrigue me most are . . . What do you want me to see? . . . What does your face mean to you?