Going back to the first weeks lecture on the self portrait and looking over the Phillip Gefter quote, about whether or not the portrait is in fact a self portrait of the photographer, I am able to gain a new understanding as to what my project is about. I have been thinking of this project in a very structured way, in that I’ve been seeing the pictures i’ve taken of a certain person as portraits of that person, but in fact they are all portraits of myself and they actually tell you very little about the people within them. They are just documents of exterior shells that aren’t very revealing.
Creating the digital artefact was a very refreshing process as it added another layer to the project and gave me a new perspective on it. By adding in moving images and sound taken from these environments it gave another sense to the project and for me it completely changed the narrative of the series. Viewing the finished piece came as a bit of a shock as I realised I didn’t fully understand what I was creating until it had happened, as it was quite an organic process a fully thought through end product. I knew I wanted to incorporate video and sound with the images to show what my project had evolved out of but I get quite an eery sense from viewing the video, which wasn’t my intention but quite like.
I started out by photographing my tribe, a theme that was defined by Nan Goldin, who also heavily influenced my project. Her work titled ‘The Ballad of Sexual Dependency’ has been something that I have referred to numerous times in the past and feel it has inevitably fed into the way I approached this project. Her work documents an intimate connection with the people closest to her and when viewing Goldin’s work it becomes very difficult to separate her from the people within the photographs, as she is so attached and has a strong relationship with them. I find when looking at the physical artefact of my project it is difficult to separate myself from the photographs as they are an autobiography.
Through the action of taking these photographs I was making a comment on myself, or trying to make sense of myself. Through developing my understanding of ‘The Tribe’ I was able to make these discoveries, as it enabled me to see the intimate connections and that I had a unique insight into my own life. Nothing any one has or can ever see. People may be able to relate to it, having had similar experiences but the unique aspect of the project is that nobody will view these spaces and these people with the same perspective I have. This is because I shape and bring about these moments, I control the response I get from my subjects, whether I am conscious of it or not.