Thursday, 29 January 2009
Thursday, 22 January 2009
Cindy Sherman is a photographer who dressed herself up as different people, photographing herself in a range of different costumes. She is best known for her conceptual portraits. The artist poses in different stereotypical female roles, these vary from an immature schoolgirl to an attractive seducer and from a glamour diva to a caring housewife. Sherman uses her own possessions as props in these images. She does this to show that women adopt several roles and identities depending on their circumstances. Her work encourages self-reflection in the spectator.
My project may sound similar to Sherman's work but looking at stereotypical teenagers. However i am also going to mix up the locations, so put these stereotypes where you would not expect them and with possessions that do not fit their character in order to disturb the viewers gaze.
Alexa Wright in her project titled 'I' digitally manipulated self portraits and superimposed disabilities to make different versions of herself. About this she says "On realising that all the portraits are of the same person i hope the viewer will begin to question their reaction to seeing a disabled body, and to perceive the disability as separate from the person."
(Avaliable at http://www.alteregoinstallation.co.uk/main_site/ipg.html)
This is similar to what i want to do with my project. I can also draw inspiration from Alexa Wrights work from the way she composes her photographs. I like the subtlety of her images and the openness of them. She uses large open spaces and gives her figures a lot of room to breathe.
In my images, like in hers i want the weirdness about them to be subtle. I intend to look completely different as i dress up as each person but i want the subtle repetition of my face to be a disturbing factor.
In this project i want to disturb the viewers gaze. I want to make aesthetically pleasing images but also make them confusing and disturbing. This disturbing and confusing aspect may not be completely apparent at first. I want to take 4 or 5 (or however many i have time to do) different types of teenagers, eg. geek, chav, goth and i want to photograph them in the opposite location to where you assume they would be. For example i will photograph a chav in a stately home. i want to spend a week on each type so that i can try a few different things with each one. I want a variety of shots as well so i will do some wide shots but some close up tight shots with just bits of detail of the type of person and where they are, eg. a barbie girl holding physics books.
"The images are slightly disturbing, but not enough to make us angry because they are so seductive"
DOY, G., 2005. Picturing the Self: Changing Views of the Subject in Visual Culture. London: I.B. Tauris & Company. p. 100
To disturb the gaze even more when these pictures are seen as a set i will be doing them as self-portraits. I will appear in each one as the main subject dressed up as a different stereotype in each. I think this will make the project more interesting. It can represent the fact that you can judge someone by what they look like but you don't know what they are actually like. If people who didn't know me saw me dressed as a chav or a goth they would, quite rightly, automatically assume that's who i was. Seeing me, the same person, featuring in all the portraits dressed as all these different types of people could also represent the multiple personalities people, especially teenagers, have depending on who they are with, where they are and what they're doing.
With this project i want to think about how we see/read different groups of people in society and where we think they belong. People see what they want to see in people and therefore as a result people are separated into categories. To do this i am going to focus the teenage group in society because i think that is when people are at a time in their life when they are most influenced by trends and the contrasts between the different stereotypes is more apparent. To do this i need to learn to understand gestures and the way people walk and dress.