Reflections of Identity
What defines a portrait? Is it the defining facial features of the subject? Or the background setting and clothing that the model chooses? These questions are relevant to portrait photography, specifically the environmental portrait, where the subject’s surroundings inform the viewer about the model and their identity. There is a fine line between identifying a person based on their surroundings as opposed to identifying a person based on facial expression; not merely how they appear but also who they are. Through the photographic genre of environmental portraiture this series removes the subject’s face and in its place, is a reflection of their surroundings. There is loss of identity when the face is removed from a portrait which asks the questions, who are we? Are we just a face or are we just a form of the environment we have created for ourselves? WHO ARE WE?
Each subject I have photographed chose their favorite place within their homes and surrounded themselves with the things that they love or hobbies that interest them. I used a large format 4x5 film camera to enhance the details in the environment and the subject. Since I know each subject personally, it is easy for me to describe their unique qualities, as a viewer I present them as anonymous models for you to identify based on their environments but without their faces. Through these portraits, the subjects have lost their facial expression, their sight, sound and taste…their identity. It is lost in the reflection.