Dictionary Definition:


a party, dance, or other festive gathering of persons wearing masks and other disguises, andoften elegant, historical, or fantastic costumes.a costume or disguise worn at such a gathering.false outward show; façade; pretense:a hypocrite’s masquerade of virtue.activity, existence, etc., under false pretenses:a rich man’s masquerade as a beggar.

verb (used without object), mas·quer·ad·ed, mas·quer·ad·ing.

to go about under false pretenses or a false character; assume the character of; give oneself outto be:to masquerade as a former Russian disguise take part in a masquerade.

Nikki S. Lee

This is Project (2), and in relation to self-portraiture, the term masquerade is denoting that the photographer is using themselves to say something about something other than themselves. The course points to Nikki S. Lee, a photographer who transformed herself physically in order to include herself in pictures of other groups and cultures, with the aim of blending in with them. I see this a little like actors playing a role. It isn’t who they really are, but they transform themselves into someone else in order to tell a story.

Nikki S. Lee – google image search 19.5.19 – masquerading as others

It is interesting that having read Lee’s bio, it appears that she had wanted to be an actress. Perhaps that had something to do with her dressing up as other people. There is also the fact that she moved to New York from Korea and maybe felt out of place or different from others there and was trying to blend and belong.

Trish Morrissey – google image search. In the series ‘Front’, Morrissey says she is challenging the idea of borders and boundaries and asked women in groups who had set up ‘camp’ on the beach to swap position with her, she took their place in the family and asked them to take the images of her ensconced in their family group.

I think any person who’s partner has gone off with someone else, who has then taken their place in the family / group. I think this would evoke feelings of loss and position and place. If you are confident of your place in a group, then I guess you’d probably just see it as some fun. As someone who take family group photos, it always really interesting how people arrange themselves. With an impostor in the mix, would the accepted roles be challenged?


I wouldn’t call Lee’s work voyeuristic, it feels more like street photography, where she has tried to join in.

  • Is there any sense in which Lee’s work could be considered voyeuristic or even
  • exploitative? Is she commenting on her own identity, the group identity of the
  • people she photographs, or both?
  • Would you agree to Morrissey’s request if you were enjoying a day on the beach with your family? If not, why not?
  • Morrissey uses self-portraiture in more of her work, namely Seven and The Failed Realist. Look at these projects online and make some notes in your learning log.

It feels like Lee is commenting on her own identity and the fact that she is different, but also that each group has it’s own identity and everyone in the group blends in by the way that they look, be it clothes, or something else.

Yes I think I would agree to Morrissey’s request, and would enjoy seeing how my family looked in the camera. However, my insecurities might be challenged. I might feel jealous?

Trish Morrissey

Seven Years is a study recreating images from earlier periods along with her sister. Morrissey uses herself to represent other family members, trying to recreate the idiosyncrasies of people.

In this series, Trish used her face as a canvas for her daughter to paint. She was exploring the idea that children of 4 – 5 try to express themselves visually, but don’t have the physical acuity to do so at that time. The series was made over a period of time to see how it changed as her daughter’s ability grew.

In both of these series, Morrissey is masquerading as others or even things in an attempt to test other theories.

Autobiographical self-portraiture

This is the most accepted notion of self-portraiture, that of using yourself in your images to say something about yourself.

some of the photographers suggested for research in this chapter are:

I have explored Francesca Woodman in a separate post; read more . .

Reflect on the pieces of work discussed in this project in your learning log and do some further research of your own. Here are a few questions you might ask yourself:

    • How do these images make you feel
    • Do you think there’s an element of narcissism or self-indulgence in focusing on
      your own identity in this way?
    • What’s the significance of Brotherus’s nakedness?
    • Can such images ‘work’ for an outsider without accompanying text?
    • Do you think any of these artists are also addressing wider issues beyond the
      purely personal?

Elina Brotherus
Google image search 19.05.19

On their own with no context, these images are perplexing. They do seem self indulgent, however, having watched the video and listened to Elina speak about her images, i have a much better understanding and connection with her work.

In this video Elina explains her photography –

Gillian Wearing – google image search 19.05.19 – without the explanation that she is wearing a mask, they are so lifelike that you can’t tell. Therefore, I’m still not sure what she is trying to say or explore.

Elinor Carucci – now this I love. It’s amazing the difference in how you view images when you connect with them.

Elinor Carucci’s work feels intimate and perhaps a bit voyeuristic, it comes from a place I understand without explanation, whereas with Brotherus and Wearings work, I couldn’t relate to until, it was explained. Their work feels more like they are trying to externalise things that are happening in their heads. Woodman’s images are more compelling, in that I feel she gets across what she is trying to say, with movement and the shapes she makes with her body.

What is the difference between Carucci’s images and the those of Brotherus and Wearing with which I don’t connect. It would be interesting to do some comparisons to see if I can work it out. How can I bring these ideas into my work?

Richard Billingham – google image search 19.05.19. Reminiscent of Martin Parr, these images are of the photographer’s family and quiet dark and satirical in nature.

Tiernay Gearon – google image search 19.5.19. Like Carucci, the photographer has focused on montherhood, however her images are quite different, they are bright and saturated and convey motherhood as a happy time.

Quotes about shoes

I want to include a quote about shoes in my instagram feed, here’s a few I’ve found

Big journeys begin with small steps

Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world

Marilyn Monroe

If the shoe fits . . . .

I still have my feet on the ground, I just wear better shoes

Oprah Winfrey

So many shoes, but only two feet!

Mama always said you could tell an awful lot about a person by the kind of shoes they wear

Forest Gump

Take a walk in my shoes before you judge me

A woman carries her clothes, but it’s a shoe that carries a woman

Christian Louboutin

Cinderella is proof that a new pair of shoes can change your life

I once cried because I had no shoes to play soccer, but one day, I met a man who had no feet, and realised how rich I am

Zinedine Zidane

Assignment 3 – Self Portrait – ideas and research

Self portrait mind map of Part 3 – putting yourself in the picture

Having read through Part 3 – Putting yourself in the picture and researching the artists suggested and more, I have come to the conclusion that, I certainly don’t want to be naked in any images!, I don’t really have anything to bang a drum about and therefore, I am pretty sure my assignment will be self-absented set.

I would also like to explore the theme of substitution which was a question that came out of my last assignment, where I substituted a wooden hand for a real one.

I would also like to link this work to instagram. It seems that everyone uploads images of themselves (selfies} to instagram these days, coupled with a description of where they are, what they are doing. This is coupled with #lotsoflinks, #funnyquotes, #likegrabbingheadlines. Getting likes is all that matters!!

This is a screen shot of my current instagram account as seen on my iphone. Most people see a grid of 3 x 3 or 3 x 4 images at a time, so I will aim for 12 photos to complete this set.

I tend to use my account to show images I’ve taken, either for clients or for myself. Occasionally I add photos of me and my grandchildren, but try very hard not to post ‘crap’ to it, as I want to showcase myself as an artist (is there even such a thing!!)

I have been keeping my diary now for 8 days. I HAVE filled it in every day. This a major achievement for me. I am using a planning diary, rather than a regular journal. This seems to suit me better and I’ve found that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, stickers! they break up the writing and I find the small snippets much more interesting that lots of prose. It is enough to trigger the memories.

It’s a note for learning here too. I really struggle to concentrate with pages and pages of prose. I have to read reports for work, and I always have to get a cup of tea and often get up and go for a walk, so I can re-concentrate several times during the course of reading them. I prefer short bursts of text interspersed with images or graphics. Conversely though, I’m pretty good at writing reports!

My subject for the assignment:

I considered picking up the work I tried out after reading Francesca Woodman’s work, which was exploring the idea of using long exposure to be in a space and then not, but decided it was a bit boring and it’s essentially one photographic technique done in a few different ways. I have decided to complete my initial thoughts of self-absented self-portraiture based on substitution. I am going to tell viewers about myself by using my SHOES.

Francesca Woodman

“It is difficult not to read Woodman’s many self-portraits – she produced over five hundred during her short lifetime – as alluding to a troubled state of mind. She committed suicide at the age of twenty-two.” (Bright, 2010, p.25)

Francesca Woodman (1958–81) explored issues of gender representation and the use
of the female body in her work. Self-portraits dominate her substantial portfolio, often
portraying dark psychological states and disturbing scenes. She uses her body, locations and props to evoke a sense of surrealism, mystery and vulnerability. In Space2, for example, her body almost disappears into the blur of movement. This visual strategy recurs in her work and, since her death, has been interpreted as Woodman using photography both to present herself to the camera as an exhibitionist and to help herself disappear.

Look up Francesca Woodman’s images online. What evidence can you find for Bright’s

Google search for images by Francesca Woodman

I think that perhaps Bright is reading Woodman’s images with the hindsight of her subsequent death. I think it is natural for us all to explore our existence in time and space. Especially as in this instance she was possibly responding to an assignment brief, whilst studying at university. The title Space2, is actually Space squared.

as a human being we can move around and occupy different parts of a space, whilst the space itself can not move. I have tried this out myself using long exposure to put myself in the image but not in the image at the same time. Looking at the idea of only passing through time and leaving traces of oneself.

I like the smoky effect left by moving through the space. I was wearing a white top. In woodman’s images she was in an empty room. I liked the idea of being in and around my home.

Max Klinger – german surrealist painter,  Max Klinger (18 February 1857 – 5 July 1920) was a German symbolist painter, sculptor, printmaker, and writer. Klinger was born in Leipzig and studied in Karlsruhe. An admirer of the etchings of Menzel and Goya, he shortly became a skilled and imaginative engraver in his own right.

I have always enjoyed surrealism in my photography, I like the idea of adding symbolism as well.

Brooke Shaden – self portraits – this is a photographer whose work I have followed for a time. However, I find her quite dark, she follows themes of rebirth and feel a little like Woodman’s work. Personally, I prefer images that are more hopeful and uplifting.

Stephen Bull – Photography – review

Recommended by tutor to read P45, 67-70.

The first passages is in Chapter 3 – The meaning of Photographs:

Photography and Psychoanalysis: The unconscious, Fetishism and the Uncanny [P45]
This passage focuses on ‘mental context’ i.e. “the mind of the viewer as interpreter of photographs”. The author talks about this should be taken into account when creating photographs, but points out that this is very difficult as each person has different experiences.
Sigmund Freud, however argued that people share some common experienced, desires and anxieties, such as joy, fear, angler etc.  Thinking back to my Social Science course many years ago. I would say that this also depends greatly on the culture in which they were brought up.  Freud’s psychoanalysis central idea is that of the three states on consciousness, conscious, pre-conscious and unconscious.  In relation to the unconscious, Freud agued that people repress some desires and anxieties, mostly due to social constraints and feel that they should not be expressed, discussed or acted upon.
Relating this back to Assignment 2 and the point I think Les was making, is that the images I created from my mind in an attempt to photograph the unseen are in fact unconscious reactions to the stimuli.  I was aware of this but what I think is more interesting is the fact that the images were so like ‘stock photos’.  What does that say about what is in my subconscious?

The second passage is in Chapter 4 – Photography for Sale:

From Selling Products to creating atmospheres: advertising photography and image banks.
This section focuses on how our ideas of what is desireable has been shaped by advertising and the use of ‘stock’ images to portray ‘consumer happiness’. Christina Kotchemidova suggests that ‘the indexicality of the photograph’ helps create ‘ real fantasies’ and advertisers use this to consistently reinforce the message of what life should be like, that we subconsciously desire this, but as it bears no resemblance to our realities we repress them as unconscious desires.
Is this what I have created in my images? Certainly not consciously, but it does make me question them.  The fact that I have used substitutes for myself in the form of a wooden hand and not put myself in the images, even though I am trying to describe my feelings is telling me something, about myself.  

Image 7 is probably the most ‘stock’ image.  It certainly isn’t (or wasn’t) my reality as I in order to create this image, I bought all of the crockery new and the cereal which I don’t eat!  In my head this is what breakfast on a sunny morning should look like!  Actually I really love this image, because it fulfills my vision (perhaps this vision has been fed to me, by advertising I don’t know.  

Item 7 – Stan’s Object

I was given a bowl and was told the ‘object’ was within it. There were multiple objects, which were light, sticky and round. I ran it through my fingers many times and imagined a sunny morning breakfast.

My reflection is that in creating images I do need to make a decision about what I am trying to say, is it real fantasy or an attempt at honest portrayal of the facts, or indeed like my first assignment, somewhere in the middle?

Bull S., 2010, Photography, Rutledge, New York

Assignment 2 – Feedback and Reflection

. . a thoughtful submission that fulfills brief . . .

Read Tutor Feedback report here

The first thing to say is that I again had a FaceTime conversation with Les, my tutor which I have come to really enjoy and find it so enthusing to be able to discuss and debate my ideas. Far from finding it daunting and worrying about any criticism I have learned that the conversation is really stimulating my thoughts and leading me to research places and people, I wouldn’t have found on my own. I so wish I’d started out doing this, because actually having those discussions really does help improve my work.

I also made the notes this time and submitted them for Les to amend and add references about photographers and artists we’d talked about. I’ll mention them later.

I think I ended up with more questions than answers from this assignment, but I don’t think that is a bad thing, quite the contrary. In all aspects of this assignment, I have had to discuss my objectives with people. From those that gave me items, to my husband who helped manage the process and to showing the final images to my tutor and others. If feels like a real collaboration and really helped me engage fully with the brief.

I am conscious that I mustn’t reflect and reminisce too much as I still have quite a bit of the course to complete.

I have set myself a goal to research each of the photographers, authors and artists that Les and Moira mentioned during the conversation and reflect on their link to my work for the final submission. I won’t however, attempt incorporate their ideas into Assignment 2. In stead, I think it will show better progression in my work if I incorporate it into subsequent areas of the course.

Research items:

Moira Lovell’s area of research

Stephen Bull’s – Photography p45, 67-70

Karen Barad’s On- touching – The Inhuman That therefore I Am (v1.1)

Phillyda Barlow, working with the idea of denial of touch.

Gillian Wearing’s – masks

Eva Stenram – Drapes