Tries too Hard (2014)
Damaged Goods (2014)
Labels, when used on people, are words that are sometimes mistaken as descriptions. Words such as loser, extremist, overachiever, etc are examples. The use labels as descriptors is a product of assumption mostly based on little information and a lot of opinion, which is then projected upon the person. This then has the effect of eroding one’s overall identity, making the label the most prominent component.
In this series, each subject provides a label that was ascribed to him or her by others, the text of which is then projected onto their body using a portable projector. The subject is then photographed in a manner akin to a formal portrait. Only the bottom half of the face is in the frame and that begins to fall to black. The prominent showing of the label then becomes the main focal point, and ultimately, the identity of the individual. The label must be one ascribed to the subject by others, not by him or herself. Self-ascribed labels become an what an individual wants to project, whereas externally ascribed labels take over a person’s identity in ways they cannot control.
I invite each sitter to watch the label graphic being created in Photoshop. This serves to reduce the anxiety that comes with being a model. Three exposures are made, which further reduces the subject's anxiety while making more apparent their personal relationship with their label.
The ability to see part of the face serves as a reminder to the viewer that an individual is therein. This project does not aim to stop people from labeling others. In the end, it is up to the individual doing the labeling to decide whether or not to apply one to another individual. The goal of this project is cause an extra step into the labeling person’s thought process and force him or her to consider the why and the consequences of their action.