From Memories to Perspectives

I don't know if this is the way great ideas for books come, but I've always been intrigued by the book titles and how they fit with the content of the book.  I came up with this book title on May 30, 2013.  It occurred to me that since 1994 I had been sketching faces from eyewitness memories and now I had been thrust into this worldwide obsession with self perception.  The common thread for me was my Compositure® interview technique.  My technique allows me the freedom to interview people without the use of reference images.  This turned out to be critical when performing the Real Beauty Sketches social experiment.  I had to interview real women and the strangers that interacted with them from behind a curtain.  I could only hear their voice and imagine what they might look like and more importantly how the describers viewed the real women. The experience proved to be powerful and very enlightening for me.

As with any profession that endures I believe you should exercise self reflection and decide whether there might be a better way.  I had a thirst for scrutinizing my interview technique in the early years of my career and I had decided that the composite art field (forensic art) had been stagnated with the same old tried and true methodology of creating sketches from reference images.  Even though I had had the fortune of being mentored by Tom Macris from 1992 - 1995 I was still feeling isolated among the dedicated forensic artists that work on cases everyday across the US.  In 2010 I was invited to deliver a workshop on my methodology to a gathering of some of the brightest minds in forensic art today.  What stuck with me in that morning presentation was the comments of disbelief on being able to create a sketch with any value without reference images.  The workshop was a huge success and many of the artists were amazed at their abilities and more importantly intrigued at how easy it was.  I don't know if any of the attendees have gone on to conduct their interviews without reference images, I can only hope that the workshop intrigued them enough to inquire about eyewitness memory misidentifications and do their own investigation.