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  • Thumbnail for Mimes

    Mimes

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    Blank

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    When planning this series I looked at different photographers and their series’ that told stories. A photographer whose work stood out to me and who I could relate to was Erwin Olaf’s series ‘Dusk and Dawn’. The series shows perfectly set up, quite normal scenes with models standing, styled beautifully but just standing staring, looking with some blank stare. When I saw these photos I was inspired by this glazed over look because I feel like that sometimes and I think everyone can. That feeling when you are with people but your mind is somewhere else. My series plays on this feeling, it is about a girl who has a hidden story, the part that isn’t told in the photo because she shows nothing. It is all hidden inside, she’s there in person but she’s not involved. My scenes tell stories on their own, each photo has its own story because it represents a situation, everyone is doing something, working, talking, reading or playing and every character has its part in the story. The styling and the setup also has its story, the way that the table is made, lounge is set up and things are placed. The style I chose for the clothing was a sort of vintage-modern and the clothes were usually smart-casual.

    I shot my scenes quite straight on for effect, all the photos are shot at a similar angle which is a slightly upward angle to show her power because while there may be something going on, she’s still strong, she’s still at work and still seeing her family and friends. The lighting setup I used was ambient light along with a single flash. I did this so that the ambient light could set the mood and the flash lit her so that she kind of looked out of place. I used a wide angle lens in order to fit quite a lot in the frame but also to exaggerate space. It made the distance between her and the other people look bigger, like she’s moving forward and they’re staying where they should be.

    My first image is at the office. Everyone is working and talking around her and she is frozen, no-one is paying attention to her. She has a file in her hands, because she has something to do, only its slipped her mind because some other thought is haunting her and that is how she came to this frozen state. She looks in place,dressed properly, makeup done but her empty stare is what makes her look unnatural and out of place.

    The second image is of a group of people playing tennis, a normal activity. Only she is there to participate but cannot. She can only just stare, looking useless. The clouds in the sky echo her feelings inside, they give us a clue to what she’s thinking because they show this mood, only she doesn’t, she reveals nothing. On one hand she’s letting down the team, she’s not playing and that will make it harder for her partner, or are they letting her down? They can see shes not OK, no-one comes to her aid. No-one tries and even if they did, would they really understand?

    My third image is of a lounge scene, her boyfriend and her brother on either side of her. They’re reading magazines and chatting, engaging, communicating. The blank stare remains, even with her family and someone so close to her she cannot reveal what’s going on. Does she even know they’re there? This photo shows that from the outside she has so much, a loving family and boyfriend, a beautiful home. But does she really? They haven’t helped her, perhaps they don’t notice anything wrong but whatever it is she needs something and she hasn’t got it.

    My fourth image is of a family dinner scene, a happy family. Mom, dad and brother at the table. There are candles, her mom took the time to make the table look smart and to make a delicious dinner only she is somewhere else. Her mom offers her a plate while her brother and dad converse but there is no response from her. Its just her close family and she’s not herself.

    My final image is of her going to bed with her boyfriend, the one person she loves more than anyone and who loves her. Its the end of another day, she can breathe a sigh of relief that its over and she got through it, but she’s stuck, not even getting into bed but halfway there. The blank stare doesn’t change even though she’s alone with that one special person. He reads on, not because he doesn’t love her or doesn’t care but maybe he’s tried to help already, there’s nothing he can do. Maybe he doesn’t realise how far gone she is.

    This series tells a story, and hides a story. From looking at the photos you can see the obvious story, see what’s going on and who is who. But there’s a part of the story that you don’t know, the part that is behind the blank stare of the porcelain like face. It may leave you with questions or suggestions about what has happened. That’s the beauty of it, the story is the viewer’s to finish because they will see the story of when they felt like that.

  • Thumbnail for Pride

    Pride

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    I wanted to explore performers and how they put on a persona. I came up with the idea to do a series on drag queens.

    I chose this culture because I find it very interesting how a man can transform into a woman, revealing a different side to his personality after putting on some makeup . I got inspiration from Leland Bobbés series ‘Half-Drag’. In this series he took portraits of drag queens with half of their faces made up fully and half of their faces as men. I found it really interesting to see the transformation and the way in which he showed both sides of the person both masculine and feminine. Through my research I also found that many drag queens aren’t actually gay, it’s just a performance, a way in which to gain confidence and do things they don’t ordinarily do. A good example is ‘All Beef Patty’, a man who is very shy but has an amazing voice, the only way that he has the confidence to get up on stage is to become ‘All Beef Patty’, his drag persona who has the confidence to sing in front of many fans. There is also a story that is being made into a documentary called Drag Dad, which is about a young man who was homeless and he and his girlfriend had a child and in order to support his family he became Tyra Sanchez, who is now a drag queen superstar.

    While the drag culture can be controversial because many people don’t agree with it there is much respect to be had for these men, they do things they could never do, showcase their talents, entertain people and some even use it as a way to support their family.
    This is why I decided to do a series on the process of a man becoming his alter persona as he puts on makeup which acts as a mask, giving him the confidence that he does not have as a man.

    In my first photo I have him as a man, no make up with his arms crossed to show the manly side of his personality, not particularly outgoing but with a sense of pride. I tried to run this pride theme throughout the five images as in each stage of his transformation his pride and integrity remains. The middle three photos are the process, he becomes more feminine and elaborate as he puts on more makeup. The first of these three is him putting on his hair net, not adding any femininity but covering up part of himself, his hair, his confidence has not quite emerged yet, the emotion expressed is similar to the first image. The next two are when he applies the makeup, he is not only starting to look more like a woman but act like one. His hand positions as he applies his makeup become more those of a woman than a man, he also becomes more theatrical, showing more emotion.

    The final image is of the woman, the completed alter persona after the transformation. With the wig and full makeup she has emerged as a beautiful woman. His arms that were once crossed are now hers, stretched out and open. The seriousness and shy face of a man has been replaced with the polished face of a bubbly outgoing woman, who acts, dances and sings, she has the confidence to do everything he doesn’t.