Insentient Portrait Series, 2011
Antique malls are ever-changing “cabinets are curiosity” for me. I particularly enjoy the personalities of each booth and how they are displayed. Within these booths, I find that the mannequins, dolls, and statues that live within these spaces are dramatis personae – not just objects on a shelf. Like humans, some have a long-term or permanent role to play and some are unsettled, filling a position for only a brief period of time. The one thing they have in common is the vendor of the booth. The vendor is the master that controls the role(s) they are to play. Although I like to call these spaces “found scenes”, the act of photography essentially changes the scene from a still life to a portrait of that character in its habitat.
This series of portraits is an exploration of the identity of these inanimate figures brought to life by their role in life, and how the viewer draws on the clues and their own interpretation to create meaning.
Shot with Twin Lens Medium Format Camera
Silver Gelatin Fiber Paper
In a past documentary series, She Plays, I photographed my daughter during different times of her personal creative play. I am intrigued by her creative problem solving while she is in her own world of play. Though man-made items are provided for her playtime, she is quick to repurpose a given object to her advantage. While a wand is simply a wand in one moment, it becomes a microphone in the next, which then becomes a gasoline nozzle in the moment after that. During this time of observation, I often remember how I used to play, and how I repurposed objects and spaces to my advantage.
In, I Was A Little Girl; I placed my daughter in scenes to introduce her to the playtime of the girl that I was and to have her reenact an activity. In the series, the subject becomes a dual character — that of herself and that of a child that came before her. The scenes are both observed and directed. I allowed her to interact on her own to some extent, but she was also given slight direction.
I edited the digital images with Photoshop adjustments, and to further suggest a feeling of time or memory, I created an original filter and used Photoshop blending modes to add the illusion of surface texture to the photograph (which is visible on the actual prints themselves).
I am currently working on a narrative series. Here is a scene that probably won’t be included in the series, but it is an example of what I am doing to add texture.