Photo by Richard Avedon (left), Lynn Blodgett (right)
If a portrait photographer aspires to create an artistic interpretation of the subject, you will rarely see big smiles. Some photographers, such as Lynn Blodgett, prefer to work with small ("Mona Lisa") smiles. Other portrait photographers, such as Richard Avedon, prefered no smile at all. Some people argue that a no smile is more artistic and more true to the character than even a small smile. I guess that's a personal opinion. I would not question the artistic merit of Avedon's portraits, but I don't feel that it is the correct choice for the Koiku Project. When I photograph the people of Japanese descent, I'm not trying to capture the "rough and ready" or "down-and-out" character Avedon wanted in his "In the American West" series.
I believe that my photograph of Roy Matsuzaki is the perfect example of the balance between smiling and "artistic seriousness" that I was striving for in this project.