The theme for my project was ‘identity’, I wanted to go into this by exploring the differences between public and private identity and address the question as to what someone’s identity is; Is it when are away from the public and stripped back bare or is what they want to portray themselves as in public all dressed up.
I was inspired by this idea when looking at the work by Thomas Dozol, his series “ill be your mirror” looks at friends and acquaintances after they get out the shower, this shows the subjects stripped back and at their most natural he did this to capture the natural beauty of people when they are at their most vulnerable. It shows the private side of someone’s identity, which is what I wanted to take forward in my own work.
As I wanted to show the two halves to identity, private and public, I choose to present each subject with two side-by-side images, I liked this as by having them both together it creates a strong visual contract almost like a before and after image.
Originally I wanted to use models of different ages and genders, having a mix amongst the subjects and making a more interesting sample not just focusing on one age bracket, However when taking images of an older woman and gentlemen I found there wasn’t much difference between each subject and their own public and private identities, I did find that with the photos of younger models there were bigger differences between their own private and public identities and also between each model. I found in a younger generation there are a lot more characters between individuals, which made the photos more interesting to look at. I then decided to focus my project on the different characters within the younger generation whilst looking at the private/public. A lot of the private images showed the same amongst my sample, it was when people presented themselves in public that you could physically see changes in characters and identities, I found this interesting and could be carried on and further explored.
Another artist that influenced me was Gillian Wearing; her sign series addressed the issues in portraits with conflicting private and public identities, which again furthered me into looking at the contrast between that.
By having all of my images with the same layout ,and the first image after the shower having a lot of similarities, it creates a uniformity between the images which I like as it brings them together stronger as a series.
I used a canon 5d camera with a 85mm lens for the portraits; I also used shallow depth of field in majority photos with an aperture of f5 this was so the models physical features were centre of attention to emphasis the difference, in the public image I used the background to build up the scene of the persons identity but it wasn’t as important so I wanted it out of focus a bit.
Overall I liked my images and felt the concept I wanted to portray linked with the aesthetics making them no ambiguous.