Masquerades

After thinking about the autobiographical aspect of taking self portraits, this part looks at examples of photographers who immerse themselves in other lives and cultures in order to question and discover other worlds and their place in it and in which sense photography reflects reality. 

I looked at Nikki S. Lee's work and was really intrigued by her ability to adapt herself so well to completely different cultures and settings. The question is whether her work can be considered voyeuristic or exploitative. I don't really get this feeling when looking at her work and especially when I think about how much time she has spent with the culture she immerses herself in and the fact that she asks other members of the group to photograph her. Her images are not cynical or judgemental, like for example Martin Parr's photographs of tourists. On the contrary, because she seems to be a natural part of all groups, the focus is more on the details and elements that make you become part of it and makes me wonder what makes us included or excluded in a group and what is the role of one's own identity and uniqueness in a culture. 

I think I would agree to Morrissey's request to be photographed, mainly because it seems like a fun thing to do. I'm not sure my family would agree though! I think the impact is felt most when looking at the images together and seeing her in completely different settings all the times. It must be a bit strange to see a complete stranger become part of your intimate family life just like that. 

Her other self portrait projects are more autobiographical in the sense that they show moments of her own childhood, with her and her sister as the actors of themselves or their parents. It reminds me of the wish to be able to go back in time sometimes and relive childhood experiences. Besides that it is a physical reflection of how relationships used to be and it makes me question how they are now, or what kind of memories exist of the moments that were reconstructed. 

Museum of contemporary photography (2016) Available at: http://www.mocp.org/detail.php?t=objects&type=browse&f=maker&s=Lee%2C+Nikki+S.&record=1 (Accessed: 28 March 2016).

Trish Morrissey (no date) Available at: http://www.trishmorrissey.com/works_pages/work-sy/workpg-05.html (Accessed: 28 March 2016).