My work is derived from the idea that fashion photography is a lie. They are created by a select group of people "dictating" what our lives should look like (think e.g. girls need to be skinny). We are being deceived by a reality developped by mankind and instead of seeing it for what it is - a representation - we have started living in function of these images.
A part of this lie is the use of models. We use our models as a blank canvas on which we smear our imagination. Philip-Lorca diCorcia once said: People represent things to me, they’re not personal. Each person is a kind of archetype that I manipulate to appear to be the archetype that I am thinking about although most of the time they’re not like that, they just appear like that. You have to synthesize yourself with the little clues and there is very little on the outside that will tell you what the person is really like on the inside.” (Philip-Lorca diCorcia 2014).
This isn't necessarily a bad thing and it has been debated whether or not the identity of models matter in fashion photographs. As for me, I believe including the personality of our subjects make our images more engaging. Models are all unique human beings and that is something we should take advantage of.
This argument brought me to a turning point: how do you get models to be themselves and not to pretend?
According to Erik Erikson (1952) we are confined to space and time, day to day rituals which gives us a place in society. It denies us the freedom of impulsions and irrationality. When we step outside of these social boundaries, when we start pushing the limits, we find ourselves playing. It is within this space of play, of experimentation, our ego can flourish. When man is one with his ego, man feels human (think e.g. people saying they have never felt more alive when pushing their limits, doing outside their space of social reality). And when man feels human, he is himself.
To fully understand how the individual is only himself when he plays, I had to understand how the development of play has its influence on the development of idenity. This has been my main focus during my master studies at the London College of Fashion. During this time I experimented with the notion of play and the development of identity within my imagery based on my own childhood stories. These different series of images have been brought together in a sort of timeline (my childhod lifeline if you will), accompanied with quotes and/or pieces of stories told through my eyes.
In the end it creates a body of work that tells you my view on the world, my memories and my perception but it also tells you something about the person in the photograph. He is being himself all the while telling his own story as well as mine.