Untitled (Two Way Mirror Glasses) (Current work- in-progress 2016-17)
I ask the subjects of these portraits to don a pair of glasses fitted with two-way mirrors as lenses.
The subject engages only themselves in this experience, maintaining eye-contact with themselves as they see themselves in the mirrored glasses. In this work I am considering the vulnerability of the subject of a photograph. In a gallery setting the subject of a portrait can be looked at by anyone without being able to look back, through this set-up the viewer can claim an ownership or "understanding" of that person as they see them in an image. I wish to subvert that, and deny the viewer the ability to make eye-contact with the subject of these portraits, just as the portraits' subjects cannot make eye-contact with the viewer.
Although the subject knows that their photo is being taken and that they are being looked at by the photographer, they are simultaneously unaware, or forget the fact that I can see them/their eyes. In the illusion of seeing their own eyes (the only thing that they can see) they forget that the other side of the glasses is clear and I can see them/their eyes. The general control and composure that one may have while having their photo taken -or anytime that they know they are being looked at- is dissolved, and an unfettered, unconscious expression falls on their face. They may forget that they are being looked at as they see themselves and rather than engage with the camera and any supposed viewer.
This work relates to my previous works: Not Myself, Not Not Myself and Too Much (of Nothing): Loop Through for the Voyeur.