An essay on exploring identity: A new sense of ourselves
- Discuss this topic in the context of contemporary art or contemporary photography.
- Use as main examples of two different artists or photographers (Sophie Calle and Pushkar Raj Sharma), with detailed examples of their work. Choose examples where the work has been made in the last 30 years.
- Include a consideration of a range of authoritative commentators have explored this topic, including reflections by the artists/photographers (quotations and citations).
Williams: Writing About Contemporary Art (Thames and Hudson 2014)
Richard Howells: Visual Culture (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2011)
Lucy Soutter: Why Art Photography (London: Routledge, 2013)
Nicholas Mirzoeff: How to See the World (Pelican, 2015)
Shore, Stephen, The Nature of Photographs (London: Phaidon, 2010
Bull, Stephen, Photography (London: Routledge, 2009
Gibbons, Joan, Contemporary Art and Memory: Images of Recollection and Rembrance (London: I B Tauris, 2010)– looks at memory as both theme and function in contemporary art.
Fried, M. (2008) Why Photography Matters as Art as Never Before Yale University Press
Barthes, R. (1993) Camera Lucida New York: Vintage
Sontag, S. (1973) On Photography Harmondsworth: Penguin
My writings which I would like to keep as much as possible
Identity has been a subject widely explored by artist, photographers, philosophers, and scientists alike. The word’s etymology has changed over the years, as “identity” is thought to come from the Latin “identitatem”, meaning “sameness”. Nowadays, the words seems to have the opposite meaning, referring to any qualities, traits and beliefs that an individual is characterized by.( according tohttps://www.etymonline.com/word/identity)
This essay will discuss the concept of identity in the context of contemporary photography, using examples of ways it has been conveyed. This essay will also show reflections on the topic of identity, using a variety of sources such as “On photography” by Susan Sontag, “Camera Lucida” by Roland Barthes, as well as academic journals, online sources, and photographs. The conclusion reached by this essay is that identity is a matter of perception.
For a concept so abstract such as identity to be explored, it must, first of all be seen, observed at different points in time. Barthes (1982Camera Lucida) defines cameras as “clocks for seeing”. On posing and being photographed, he concludes “I am at the same time: the one that I think I am, the one I want others to think I am, the one the photographer thinks I am and the one he makes use of to exhibit his art”. Therefore, there are yet so many instances to the self, not even considering identity from the point of view of the photographer or, indeed, the viewers’ perception of the concept.
This idea is extended to the photographer by Sontag(on photography, year), who stated “The deliberate act of carrying a camera influences how one sees the world- and camera-holders and subjects are more likely to behave in a way that is photogenic”. This is to say that in a way, identity can be altered, it can take different forms when photography becomes involved. Sontag (on photography-year) also thought that photographs are experience captured, invitations to deduction, fantasy, and speculation.
More recently, Lucy Gallun, MoMa’s assistant curator of photography behind the show Being: New Photography 2018, explained that “Universality in humanity does not mean sameness.” (Gallun quoted in https://www.anothermag.com/art-photography/10669/five-contemporary-photographers-interrogating-identity)
The works curated for the exhibition explore the relationships between the body and the self, the dynamics of intimacy, all leading to the way’s identity defined itself nowadays. One of the featured photographers in the exhibition is Sofia Borges, whose work invites the viewer to find an identity, to decide about what they are seeing, by using objects and sculpted figures. About her method of working, Gallun believes that “The masks and sculpted figures in Borges’ picture must stand for entire epochs and people that came before, and prompt us as viewers to consider how we understand our present reality.” In other words, the language of representation seems to be one of the main ways in which exploring identity can be pursued.
The use of images to create meaning it is representation. Since 19th century photography was used and recognize as a tool of objective reality representation and mirror a deep desire to communicate about ourselves. We speak to the public equally as a model and as a photographer.