Tammy Rae Carland’s body of work titled “Lesbian Beds” consists of a series of photographs documenting unmade beds. These photographs represent a demographic who’s histories and current position within society are often marginalised. A representation which is achieved through the absence of a body.
The voyeuristic photographs, full of references to the people who once occupied these spaces, can be seen as portraits. Not necessarily of the individuals who once occupied these spaces but rather a portrait of a group of people within society, who have often been judged for their sexual preferences.
It’s the personal domestic view we get of these peoples lives that seems strange and intimate. As a viewer we are confronted to see beyond the label plastered to them (lesbian). The women who own these beds are aged between 20-30 years old. Their sheets reflect this, the vintage ‘hand me downs’ show women who’ve not quite reached adult maturity and independence. A period of life that most will relate to.
Carland is ultimately representing a group that has a scarcity when it comes to representation. Who are often sidelined and deemed less important in our culture.
As mentioned in a previous post I want to create a portrait, without using a body as representation. Like Felix Gonzalez-Torres this is something Tammy Rae Carland has achieved with this body of work. The numerous visual references depicted in these photographs, the style of bed sheets, a suggestive looking slit in a pillow, are all indications to people who sleep in these beds.
Below is a video of Tammy Rae Carland talking about this body of work.