Presence: The Invisible Portrait

Client: Chris Buck
Role: Creative Direction / Graphic Designer

Presence, The Invisible Portrait is a counter-intuitive, conceptual, and thoroughly entertaining take on the search for celebrity.

Photographer Chris Buck hides his famous subjects without the use of digital manipulation in this perverse take on power portraits. The book features fifty sittings, including Robert De Niro, Günter Grass, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Chuck Close, Cindy Sherman, Russell Brand, Snoop Dogg, Nick Cave, and David Lynch.

One of 2012’s 10 best photo projects by CNN and one of the most notable photo books of 2012 by PDN Magazine.


A counter-intuitive and conceptual take on the search for celebrity

The concept for the project was a look at if photos would be perceived as being more valuable because there was a celebrity hiding in them. The celebrity would not be visible in the photos but would rather be hiding someone within the frame but not visible to the camera. In order to make sure people know that this wasn’t just a joke witnesses would sign statements that the celebrity was indeed in the photo and simply out of sight but their presence was in the photo.

Russel Brand

Guillermo Del Toro

Cindy Sherman

Michael Stripe


Testify to the presence


I kept the design out-of-the-way to let the concept and the photos take center stage. This was translated into the design by creating a repeating cadence of a simple white left page with the witness statement where the name of the witness was written by hand, the celebrity name was typeset, and the witness signature written at the bottom. This provided a repeating visual structure that grounded the design by giving it the constant of the repeating witness statement with the uniqueness of the handwritten name, the signature of the witness, the celebrity name, and photograph changing in each layout.

Behind the scenes

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