dclark02@alumni.risd.edu

BFA in Photography
Rhode Island School of Design '18

Lives in the Greater Chicago Area

Seeing Faces, explores the ways in which the predominance of photographic portraiture has distorted understandings of selfhood and successfully merged one's identity with their physical attributes. I examine this phenomenon by creating selfies through abstraction.

Each series is made through a different mode of abstraction, but all through very physical means. By breaking the general rules of what a portrait can be, I hope to broaden both the essence of how a portrait can be made and the way in which said portrait is read.

How one places their conceptions of self onto another, and the convictions of our own selfhood, can differ vastly. I offer new ways to combat this dual misrepresentation by presenting numerous methods of depicting selfhood through bodily abstraction. As a consequence of the removal of a figurative form, in viewing my work, the viewer is forced to put aside their ideas on what the physicality of self can signal to them, and see selfhood in a new light. Perhaps the viewer will again read into the images their own narrative, but at least they are fabricating a new account.

I cannot force a viewer to read anyone in a certain light if they are not predisposed to. They will come to their own conclusion of another’s selfhood not matter how precisely curated one makes themselves. Even online when one has the power to model themselves exactly as they wish to be seen. But is the way your Instagram self is read any farther off-base than my abstract selfies?

I enjoy the multiplicity of ways in which the viewer connects to what they see and how they attempt to ascribe it to their reality. Similarly, the viewer upon closer inspection of my images, usually understands that they are most likely incorrect in their original assumptions. Upon this realization, they are usually taken aback by how far their interpretations were from the true subject. This commentary is something I am engaging with in each image and, hopefully, this will lead my audience to rethink their previous convictions on both portraiture and subjecthood.

My practice strives to broaden the definition of a portrait. I contend that abstract portraiture through photography can hold as much truth, through obscured reference to the body, as a conventional selfie or portrait, and thus create a new way to be ingested by the public eye.

Using Format