Photography is a form of creative visual expression. So when photographer Taylor Horne wanted to visually express how he views himself, he created this strikingly original self-portrait of the artist as a young man. In fact, his self-portrait is so eye-catching, that it won first place in the student print competition conducted by Antonelli Institute of Art and Photography near Philadelphia. One of the prizes Horne received was a $500 gift certificate from LexJet.
“The story behind my self-portrait is simple,” says Taylor. “It is a more physical representation of my logo, which is an eye with the aperture replacing the iris.”
“This is what I will be doing for the rest of my life and it is what truly brings me the most joy,” Taylor continues. “So the photo is to capture that story, literally as if I took a lens and shoved it into my eye. It is about how this is not a dream anymore, it is a reality and how there is no going back now.”
One goal was to give viewers a better idea of his passion for photography and my dedication: “I wanted it to be realistic but not over-the-top bloody. The blood is more beautiful, it’s more about the sacrifices you make to be strong in your craft.”
He chose the suspenders and styling of the photo to represent the ‘30s and ‘40s because he regards that era as a pivotal turning point for photographic technology: “Cameras started becoming more portable and handheld, and I think that the modern portrait was reborn.”
Taylor says he deliberately used very simple portrait lighting, because it was about the content and the character of the image being brought to reality.
When asked about his personal style, Taylor says, “I am pretty versatile. I tell stories with my work and I don’t think a lot of people think about it the way I do. I create characters and I use those characters as vehicles to get my messages into people’s minds. I think that art without a message or story is pointless. So my work is political, it’s personal, it’s about creating a world. Whether that world is as ideal to others as it is to me is beyond me. I love creating an uproar, but at the same time my work is not obnoxious. I make no effort to offend people, nor do I make an effort to let a crowd reaction get in the way of my message. I use my work to tell a story or sell a message as effectively and creatively as possible.”
For the student print competition, which was held right before he graduated in May, Taylor printed his self-portrait on LexJet Sunset Photo eSatin Paper 300g using the Epson Stylus Photo R2400 at Antonelli Institute. Judging took part in two stages. First, the school’s instructors chose the best 160 or so entries from the approximately 1200 entries that were submitted. Then, guest judges came in for the actual competition.
Taylor has since acquired his own Epson R2400, and can envision making many of his own prints in the future: “I love inkjet photo printing just as I love traditional darkroom printing. I love the science, and the control you have over the outcome vs. sending it to a lab.” He really likes the look and weight of LexJet’s Sunset Photo eSatin Paper but plans to use the LexJet gift certificate to give other types of papers a try.
Horne has always gravitated toward a career in the arts. Before discovering his passion for photography and attending Antonelli Institute, he was involved in painting and other visual arts. He says “When I realized I am a terrible painter, I had to find something else that was artistic.”
So he took an introductory photography class in the ninth grade and has never looked back: “I loved it from the first day. I remember shooting everything in sight, because when you love something as much I love photography, you just go nuts.” Now that he has graduated, Taylor Horne has set his sights on earning a living doing what he loves to do. He hopes to get more opportunities to shoot fashion, portraits, editorial and theater work, noting that: “I love anything related to photography, but those are my strong points and what I am passionate about.
To see more of Taylor Horne’s work, visit: www.Taylorhornephotography.com