Considering the extremes that some people go to with their appearance, I chose to use prosthetics, wigs, and masks to explore themes around plastic surgery. Here my expression of self is made through a conscious fantasy. We often subconsciously portray who we think we should be, and this is really interesting to me. There is a balancing act between the external appearance of a face and the internal reality of the person. This balancing act creates necessary conditions for there to be a growth in the authenticity of the images. The images can allow us to understand and study the online vernacular visual language as they act as agents that have been constructed through contemporary means of ‘grooming’ and presentation of self.
During this shoot, I was considering the following questions:-
Who I am?
What am I made of?
Can you see the real me behind the layers?
Where my hair is tied back and the makeup is in a pre-blended state, the images are stronger. There is something odd and intriguing about them. The darker wigs appear to work better in the images than the blonde and ginger ones which stand out as obviously wigs.
Following on from this, I added other props (ears and lips) to the look and used a fisheye lens to exaggerate the look further. The ears were painted with face paint as the colour they were when they arrived was too artificial and plasticky looking.
The results are quite amazing and the lens certainly adds a distortion to the images. However, wearing the false lips was very painful. I swapped the white elastic for clear and placed this around my ears. The clear elastic is not as stretchy as the white elastic and it cut into the back of my ears quite badly. However, it was worth it. The elastic created definition in my face which was not anticipated.
Using different masks that were covered with makeup to try and match my face (although in most cases the makeup did not stick to the mask), and wigs, I created a set of alter egos. Some of the masks are quite graphic and the resultant images are intriguing yet disturbing. I am not yet sure if this work will be part of this project or my mask project.
Each of the props will be photographed as part of the project.
Behind the scenes videos:-