Monday, December 31, 2007
the people in Eva Lauterlein's project Chimères don't look so unusual at first glance. but if you look longer, there is something disturbing about them. and if you look at a lot of them, that unsettling feeling accumulates.
Lauterlein is interested in the function of the face as a marker of identity in portraiture. each of these portraits have been built up out of multiple images of the same subject. she photographs them from different angles and then digitally morphs them together to create the final image.
her work was featured in the book reGeneration: 50 Photographers of Tomorrow (now yesterday), where the editors assert: "The portraits are so heavily reworked that the models' identities are lost. The chimera is created by reconstruction: the identity becomes a face nonetheless, a face with a form and solidity of its own, yet which at the same time is unable to give any information about the personality of the model who was originally photographed."
perhaps their take on the project reflects Lauterlein's thesis, but i wonder about this. the process definitely explores interesting ideas about subverting identity, but i wonder if the identities of the "models" are truly lost. i think that the work could definitely still be infused with information about the personality of the subject... although, by applying the obvious, visible hand of the photographer and the computer to shape the image, that information can no longer be construed simply as an objective representation: the subjects are revealed as chimeras—like the rest of us.
(to read Lauterlein's project statement, brush up your French skills and head over here)