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The Oval Portrait

The Oval Portrait is an image study based on Edgar Allen Poe’s tale of an artist’s obsession with his muse. In Poe’s short,  the artist becomes so consumed with the image he’s creating that he doesn’t notice his beloved has withered away in the process.  As the painter realizes that his love has died, we are introduced to story’s conflict. How does one balance life with his passion for his art?


This series features women photographed in traditional Victorian style portraits. The images are dark, the forms subtly there, as my muses will appear to recede into the darkness that surrounds them. The portraits will be framed in ornate, 8x10 to 11x14, oval frames with convex glass; lit with a dimmed light, portraying the candle from the story. Or as Poe describes it, The portrait, I have already said, was that of a young girl. It was a mere head and shoulders, done in what is technically termed a vignette manner; much in the style of the favorite heads of Sully. The arms, the bosom, and even the ends of the radiant hair melted imperceptibly into the vague yet deep shadow which formed the back-ground of the whole. The frame was oval, richly gilded and filigreed in Moresque.


For this series, I am photographing dedicated, women artists who understand the position of both of the artist and the muse in the Poe story.Those who struggle with how to balance their work with their personal lives. By exploring this idea of work, balance, obsession, and love in these artists’ lives, I hope to discover how to balance my life with love and dedication I have for my craft. 

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