‘I feel that everything in life is relative. When I look back on my life, if things had been just slightly different, I could have ended up being someone completely different from what I am now.’
– Dita Pepe
Bright, S (2011:106)
This statement from Pepe forms the basis for her series ‘self-portraits with men’ where she placed herself in relationships with lots of different men. These portraits take place at the mans house or surroundings and often include the mans children. Pepe would then style herself complimentary to the man and his children making the overall effect very believable.
Fig 1. Self portraits with men (2003 – present)
Theres something very appealing about trying out different outcomes in relation to your appearance and situation. Styles and relationships evolve and often in a way we don’t recognise ourselves anymore or even relate to our partners. What Pepe has done is create a catalogue of relationships that can be handpicked during their well established stage. I wonder if given the choice which scenario most people would opt for?
As the viewer we are automatically piecing together the kind of life each family has based on what their surroundings look like, how they’re dressed and their facial expressions. We recognise certain stereotypes in these photographs and our perception is dictated by how the images are received e.g. the lady cyclist looks happier than than batman’s wife so we assume she has a better life.
Does this mean that Pepe is looking for her ideal scenario by trying out different relationship situations? She is pregnant in some of the photographs, I wonder which photograph is closest to the situation she evolved into given her circumstances.