I wrote a diary over two weeks and it said nothing about me. It was basically a list of chores I do every day in my role as a mother. This gave me the idea to base my self portrait on a subject I’ve been battling for years and that is, ‘loosing my identity’. Making the transition from having a great career into becoming a full time wife and mother has been an eye opening experience. I used to be the face of an entire team of professionals but now I feel completely faceless.
Over time I have become unrecognisable. Power dressing has been replaced with bleach ridden jeans and sweaters. Nights out are too exhausting to organise. Adult conversations have become few and far between. I talk to the dog so much he always knows my next move. Passion for music has diminished with the desire for peace and quiet. Slowly but surely my identity as I knew it has slipped away and been replaced with fatigued robot. My identity that had naturally evolved with me is becoming a distant memory, even my name has changed!
People see who I am now and not what I used to be. I struggle with this because I’m an evolution, I’ve been educated, I’ve travelled, I’ve achieved, all these things make up who I am.
A close friend told me they were jealous that I got to ‘potter’ around the house all day as a housewife. In reality I run the house, look after the children, look after my husbands business finances, run a photography studio, make handmade jewellery and study Photography. However, I’m seen as pottering.
The faceless feeling is carried throughout my journal entitled ‘A change of scenery’.
I wrote this journal whilst on a family holiday as I wanted to show that it’s not just a normal day to day issue, it follows me around. A holiday to me is no longer a holiday, full of relaxation, fun and frolics. It’s just a change of scenery, hence the title.
The journal is made up of a written diary with accompanying photographs. The photographs are either auto biographical or self absent but never with my face on display. Omitting my face is my way of getting across the feeling of being faceless. The individual photographs themselves are a reaction to a feelings I’m having relating to identity loss. Each photograph is captioned to give a hint to the feeling that spurred its being. Whilst doing this I’m giving clues to my true identity, the personality that resides inside.
‘A Change of Scenery’
Demonstration of technical and visual skills – Materials, techniques, observational skills, visual awareness, design and compositional skills.
This has been an interesting assignment in terms of technical and compositional skills as I’ve been relying on other people to take most of the photographs. I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to discuss with another person what I want the photograph to look like and why. It felt like the knowledge I’ve been building up inside was finding an outlet. Also it’s forced me to think in greater depth about composition. I was looking for ideal scenes/backdrops and visualising where I should stand, how I should stand, where would I be looking, how would that effect the composition as a whole.
Quality of outcome – Content, application of knowledge, presentation of work in a coherent manner, discernment, conceptualisation of thoughts, communication of ideas.
The concept of a diary is quite self explanatory but I think the content is thought provoking. I wanted it to be as authentic as possible in the diary style of writing but with not so ordinary photographs with off the cuff phrases. The translation of these is quite ambiguous and leaves a lot to interpretation so getting the balance right has been difficult. The concern I have is including too much content as I don’t want to confuse the viewer with information that throws the viewers interpretation of the diary. When we think about punctum, throwing the viewer is the aim but it has to be in the correct way.
Demonstration of creativity – Imagination, experimentation, invention.
I have included some photographs in this diary that seem to have no correlation to the narrative which was my attempt at saying, sometimes the way your feeling doesn’t have any bearing on your surroundings and it can be confusing. I’m concerned that this approach will simply come across as confusing to the viewer.
Context – Reflection, research, critical thinking.
In preparation for this assignment I looked at the work of other self portrait artists including Gillian Wearing, Nikki S. Lee, Trish Morrissey, Dita Pepe and Nigel Shafran. Each artist has their own individual style based on subjects that are personal to them but with the ability to relate their ideas to others. I felt like this was drawing the viewers in and provoked thoughts of their own experiences. This gave me the idea to form a narrative based on the British seaside holiday but with a focus on me and how I’m feeling. Anna Fox’s cockroach diary was eye opening for me as it gave away more information about her dysfunctional family than it did about its title. I wanted to try a similar approach in my writing but using photographs to steer the viewer.