A Purge of my Photo Booth
I wish I could look at myself from an outer body perspective. Like in the game Sims. It’s strange how the people around me know me better than I do. It surprises me when people tell me information about myself. It’s like I’m trying to get to know someone I’ve always wanted to know through other people. Isn’t that strange? (July 2013)
A collection of all the Photo Booth photos I have taken since 2011.
I think I may be crazy.
Sometimes I look in the mirror and I don’t believe what I see.
I find the need to prove to myself that what I see in the mirror or camera is a true depiction of myself.
Am I the only person who finds that what I am on the outside doesn’t seem to match who I feel I am?
“WHEN WILL MY REFLECTION SHOW, WHO I AM… INSIDEEEEEE?!”
André Malraux created the concept of a Musée Imaginaire (Imaginary Museum) in 1974.
It is the ideal art museum that each of us carry in our minds.
It is our own mental selection of works that mean the most to each of us.
It is the collection of art works we truly admire that are both inside and outside art museums-that we today see as important works of art.
He saw that photography made it possible to create photographic reproductions of artwork from anywhere in the world and place them next to each other to create a dialogue.
Today, we create collections of our photographs and we become our own curators.
With my many many photographs of myself, I am trying to achieve the impossible.
I am continuously trying to capture me. As if I am some elusive being that’s not actually present.
Some arguments that helped me outline my concept:
“Beyond the issue of the back stage and privacy is a deeper issue about whether online content can be considered a performance in the first place. The conflation of performance and online profile is likely because of the notion that because a blog or profile signifies a single individual it does not merely stand in for that individual but is that individual (Reed, 2005).”
“The distinction between ephemeral act and recorded has an instructive parallel in the domain of art. In The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, Benjamin (1967) considers the functions of art in a time when process and reproduction make most artwork easily accessible to the masses. He asserts that these reproductions lack the unique “aura” of the original object. This aura is not a transcendental force but simply the unique historical trajectory of a singular object.”
Bernie Hogan, “The Presentation of Self in the Age of Social Media: Distinguishing Performances and Exhibitions Online” in Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society 30(6) (London: Sage Publications, 2010), 377-386.
Although my intention of taking these photographs wasn’t to end with a Facebook profile picture, I did end up choosing a couple that I saw as a nice representation of myself. Benjamin’s argument of the reproduction of the original object can be applied to the process of creating many photographs and picking one to be representative. However, this process of choosing a couple curated photos cuts short the ‘unique “aura”‘ of a person. It lacks the unique history that they have come from.
I often find myself looking through my photos to remind myself who I am. As Jean Baudrillard comments in “The System of Collecting,” people collect things to assert and exercise control in the real world. Before modernity, people lived in a more singular thread of time where past and present was past and present. However, with the changes of modernity we began to see time in fragments of periods and series of stages. My desire to capture these moments and phases of my appearance with the series of photographs reflects my need to find consolation in collecting images of myself and controlling them as objects.
“Not only do objects help us master the world, by virtue of their being inserted into practical sets, they also help us, by virtue of being inserted into mental sets, to establish dominion over time, interrupting its continuous flow and classifying its parts in the same way that we classify habits, and insisting that it submit to the same constraints of association that inform the way we set things out in space.” (Baudrillard 15)