Sunday, October 14, 2012

Questioning Invisibility

(Yohance, "The Student" - "The Rapper", 2012)

How does one represent the invisible.  Though photography and its ability to show or to hide; the there and the not there, is it able to illustrate invisibility without it being a void left to vastly open intepretation.  The ambiguous lack of subject in a photograph seems to subtract more then it adds, leaving behind a vacuum the viewer is used into or avoids.  I question my work with the veil, which functions to cover, mask, or hide but doesn't create invisibility rather it hides identity and creates objectivity, –the human becomes the humanoid.  How does the individual or a group of people when put forth as the subject of a photograph without being seen?  Perhaps it is in the very nature being the subject that they are seen as well as being within the frame of the still image that subjectivity is reinforced.  This leads me to the question, through my interest in the background actor, why should the subject be invisible when I am focused on portraying that which has been placed back into the recesses of attention?
By bringing the background actor to the foreground and making this work a focus on what is being repressed to the boondocks of our attention perhaps the issue of invisibility is resolved.  By asking following questions I enter this investigation in order to understand the background actor through personal interviews.  Who is the background actor, what is he or she portraying, and what does their portrayal represent?  Do their actions and their appearance reenforce a representation?  And what happens when their employment typecasts people into reoccurring characters, stereotypes.  When casting directors select people for background work they do not hold casting calls, or have them deliver lines but instead just use a photograph to project the role on to them.  In this effect, the photograph represents them, gives them employment, and gives them their role.  There is a relationship between the singular image, as subjective and out of context it is, to its subject.  The headshot holds a duolistic ability to serve as well as betray.  And the importance of the headshot is the same as a mugshot is used to identify a suspect, it is the materialization of the mental image, whether that be for a role, or in the case of the mugshot, of the appearance of the suspect to a victim's memory.  The subjective nature of photography both represents and misrepresents, and is an attempt at the real, that ever-changing thing of motion and multiplicity of imagery.

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