Ethereal Portraits Created Using a Large Format Scanner by Maitha Demithan
All photographs courtesy of Maitha Demithan
Artist Maitha Demithan has worked in a variety of media over her career, and in 2009 landed on the use of scanography to create portraits. This process involves using a scanner that comes in contact with the subject but does not expose the intense light source to the sitter’s eyes. The dream-like scanned images have a dramatic focal field, in which the in-contact surface of the subject quickly fades to black, and the subjects’ eyes are usually closed, distancing their inner thoughts from the viewer. In some works, Demithan also layers in her captures of different textures and focal points to create a printable digital collage.
Demithan has used scanography both with human and animal subjects, including falcons and owls, and she often reflects on themes of family and animal-human relationships in her work. She shares her approach to image-making:
I let the process of scanning and drawing in the presence of the living being – be it human or animal – define the portrait and the outcome. The outcomes are difficult to categorize or express as the interactions between the ‘sitters’ and between the ‘sitters’ and myself create the moments I wish to capture. These often hold an emotional quality.
The Dubai-based artist has exhibited her digital photo collages throughout the Middle East as well as in Australia and Germany. Demithan offers a selection of her works as prints in her online store, and shares glimpses from her process on Instagram.