At the moment I’m finishing up EYV while simultaneously preparing to start full time study at Arts University Bournemouth in September. My summer project for AUB is ‘self portrait with wig’, but it strikes me as a continuation of where I was getting to and wanted to get to with ideas that had been coming up on EYV.
I really wanted to create some kind of tableau type image, particularly for something I had in mind called ‘The Oracular Brendan Fraser Dream‘. For the ongoing ideas with AUB it’s now turning into some kind of comment on identity and the power of photography, in the form of a detective / film noir type of story summed up in a single image or perhaps in a comic book style set of images.
I think I’m being influenced by the painting ‘The Ambassadors’ by Hans Holbein the Younger; I’m not sure how, but I have it on my wall and I can’t stop looking at it, like it’s some kind of puzzle that I need to solve. But for now I’ve been playing with simple character ideas using Photo Booth on my mac to see if I can create a set of characters which all have some reflection on parts of me. The idea is to put these characters onto a ‘detective board’ along with snippets of information about me and possessions that reveal things about me. I suppose that asking for a self portrait is asking me to reveal. The wig is asking me to conceal. So I want to include both of those elements.
When I typed ‘self portrait with wig’ into Google the first thing I saw was by Andy Warhol. So that got me thinking about this Warhol type of idea that I experimented with.
I have a purple wig and so I took a few shots with that too. I have to say that I really enjoyed wearing a purple wig. I felt a bit like a mermaid or magical creature of some description, like I really should be riding a unicorn and wearing a dress with flounced sleeves. It made me genuinely happy, I was a child dressing up and playing pretend.
“We are so accustomed to disguise ourselves to others that in the end we become disguised to ourselves”. Francois de La Rochefoucauld
So this is what I usually look like. I have this mad curly hair that resists all attempts to do anything with it, so honestly I now just look on like an outside observer to see what it will do with itself on a day-to-day basis. I really have relinquished any control I may have thought I had; I just don’t have the time or patience to deal with such a wilful part of me. It means since the age of about 8 I’ve never really had hair any different from this; this has been it. It’s been really surprising for me that having different hair makes you feel so different, although that’s possibly not a revelation for most people! But it really does raise fundamental questions for me, because all of a sudden I’m not who I thought I was in a lot of different ways. These images look like different people; my children are actually finding it quite disturbing to see me differently. But I’m enjoying it; I feel like I’ve been given permission to have fun with the way I look.