Rachael Durie’s Face Photo Series: What’s the Appeal?


What is Rachael Durie’s Face Photo Series?

Rachael Durie is an Australian artist.

She has been photographing her friends in Melbourne and Sydney since early 2015.

Her work is very intimate and largely hand-written.

We had a chat with Rachael about her work.

How did you start your work?

I’ve been taking pictures of my friends for a while, but this time I wanted to put the camera in their hands.

I really like seeing their faces in their natural state, rather than staged.

Do you draw your inspiration from their everyday lives?

Not really. They’re a way to talk to them, and share something with them.

I started by asking each friend to write a message on a postcard. From there I had an idea. I made a few photo mugs, then made the postcards with the words.

How many postcards have you made so far?

I’ve made 18 postcards.

Why is the series appealing?

“I was inspired by the intimate contact with my subjects,” says Durie of her series, which consists of close-up, candid portraits of women wearing less than they usually would. “Some of them were wearing heels, some were barefoot, some had make-up on, some wore baggy clothes, some were fully dressed. I found that they all had very distinct personalities and attitudes that were conveyed by the way they looked. I liked the way that each woman’s body was speaking to me, by being so different from one another and also the different ways in which their clothes were revealing things about them. Most of the time when I’m out in public, I notice the woman who looks the least like she’s there, because she’s not focused on me.”

I’ve seen those women around.

Why are people drawn to it?

Rachael Durie is the photographer behind the face photo series, The Upper Body. It is a series she created in 2012, after creating a T-shirt with her face on it in 2007.

The series combines Durie’s profession as an X-ray technician and a PhD in Neuroscience (her thesis at University College London was titled “When You Lose Your Memory and It Just Looks Like You Have A Bad Mood”).

More recently, she has created another series, The Upper Arm, which shows other areas of the human body.

A photographer’s inspiration can sometimes be about the skills, like composition or technical ability, that a photographer can use to bring a product to life.


On a recent Monday morning, the Portland-based photographer Rachael Durie was huddled in a large trailer, pulling out a stack of acid-free gel sheets and layers of mascara.

Inside the trailer, the walls were covered in photographs and sketches that Durie has been creating over the last few years. While having her hair and makeup done for a shoot, Durie was discussing her work at a professional level with hair stylist Sydney Schroeder, discussing the film and music of Kanye West with lighting director Dario Picon and making sure that the location was, to her standards, totally free of any excess light.

Durie lives in San Francisco, but she’s spent the last two summers working in the Renton area on a series of portraits inspired by the Northern California coastline.

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