In his video portraits, a person lies flat on a low table while a camera, mounted on a track, hangs above them. It begins recording just below their feet, pointing straight down, and steadily crawls up their body. As this goes on, music plays, something Gehring’s subject has chosen to hear. The speed of the camera’s pan is proportional to the length of the music and the subject’s height, so that the film ends with the camera’s view above the head, just as the music fades.
Esperanza Spalding, a portrait. By Bo Gehring, 2014
Spalding chose Wayne Shorter’s “Tarde” from the 1974 album Native Dancer to be part of her portrait.In the track, Shorter plays tenor saxophone, vocals are by Milton Nascimento, Herbie Hancock is on the electric piano, David Amaro is on guitar, David McDaniel plays bass, and Roberto Silva plays the drums. Spalding says this piece of music is important because, “Herbie, Wayne and Milton are part of me.”