The Photographic Portrait
These traditional portraits of Miss Gay California 1998 are formatted as wallet size photographs in one large print. I altered photographic tradition by expanding and separating the captured facial expression into six different and unconventional emotions, incorporating research by Paul Ekman and the idea that facial expressions are believed to connect the body and soul. I chose a modular construction of these emotions to represent how the unconscious stores daily experiences. The six expressions are repeated, not by the duplication of the exact frames, but through new independent versions of the same emotions. By varying these frames, I am suggesting that individual feelings, though similar, are not identical. The resemblance between the repetitive emotions emphasizes the degree with which these sensibilities can change, even slightly. The model and format are constant to emphasize the complexity of our individual emotions, personalities, and our unique responses to the forces that create these sensibilities. Consistency is achieved through a common neutral background, unifying the body of images as one consciousness. The piece as a whole addresses the human condition of changing emotions. The white borders in the grid-like structure function as boundaries between men and women. The figure visually crosses over; challenging the categories we create for the sexes, and lays the foundation for further inquiry into gender identity.
C-print 34.5" x 55.25"