James Payne 
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American Portraits - 3D Photography

I began American Portraits in 1976, while living in an apartment complex in Southern Illinois. All units in the complex shared the same floor plan and they all had white walls -- painting the walls was prohibited (though some tenants did). I noticed how uniquely the inhabitants configured their environments. Their personalities and values became revealed within these differences. I began documenting this by photographing friends and neighbors in the complex, shooting in 3-D. In 1978, I returned to Chicago and continued the project, expanding subject matter to include family and peer group. My intention is to continue this body of work—a study—for at least 40 years, capturing a visual record that will reflect geographic, economical, professional, and lifestyle choices.  I now in my 40th year of this project.


I have completed more than 350 portraits to date. I allow my subjects to choose their own setting and pose in their own environments. Viewing devices permit the 3D effect of the color transparencies, allowing the viewer to feel as if they are actually immersed in the subjects habitat; able to experience the ambiance, the scattered personal minutia on the coffee tables, the choice of attire, and their ideal self-portrayal. The images are also viewable in traditional 2D prints.


Prints are normally sized at approx. 14”x 9.5.” Price quotes are available upon request. 

All images are property of the photographer and cannot be used for any purpose without written permission. 

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