This book is a work in progress. There will be new versions as the project itself progresses.
Fleeting Faces is an extended family portrait in the form of a photographic typology. The family (in modern, Western society at least) has evolved from the large tribal affiliations of nomadic times to the large family with three generations living comfortably under one roof (which lasted up until half a century ago), to the present-day small nuclear unit of two parents and their offspring. Even this nucleus is threatened with the current rate of divorce in contemporary society.
Is it possible to create a portrait of the contemporary family acknowledging this fragmented, early 21st century reality? I started with this question, and others. Intimate emotional connection demands physical proximity, which is often no longer the case between many family members, and is certainly not in my case. Will the definition of family soon be understood only in the context of genetics? Beyond that, how do we remember one another, when we hardly see each other? Seeing loved ones age in yearly increments, as is the case with me when I come to visit once a year, is a painful reminder of our mortality and of the limited time we have left together. It is this painful situation that was the impetus for this work.
Fleeting Faces is my attempt to grapple with these questions and to create a modern family portrait. The large prints (22" x 22") offer a very high level of detail in the faces. What becomes evident in this study are the genetic features which are en route to becoming the most visible expression of family ties, as the lack of physical proximity and the ensuing psychological distance all but excludes the un-staged visuals of extended family that we lovingly refer to as "family snapshots".
Verner Soler, an award-winning art director in the field of advertising, has long pursued his passion for photography. Verner was raised in a small village in the Swiss Alps where he learned to appreciate the natural composition of landscapes and the honest beauty of the working class while working alongside his parents on the farm. At 21, he moved to Los Angeles to expand his horizons. Photography became a way to stay connected to hisrural roots. Verner studied film and television at UCLA Extension and photography at SMC. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and son, whom he is teaching to speak “Romontsch,” the native language of the remote villages of the eastern Swiss Alps.
Fleeting Faces Published December 28, 2010