So my graduation photos finally arrived. Because the firm had lost track of them they upgraded my pack to three larger images which was nice, but I have no idea what to do with them. But in the spirit of appropriation and honouring copyright I scanned one and played with it.
Of course the portrait is obviously different because it’s been shot in landscape format. But the style I have given the image reminded me of some of those older very heavily touched up portraits people send home to loved ones. It also made me think about some of the things Solomon-Godeau had to say in Photography and Post Modernism (1991, p87) where the distinction is made clear between the modernists where the photographer is seen as creator and post modernists where the photographer is commentator. This this image here is not intended to be a wonderful portrait of me but rather more a symbolic ambiguous image acting as a commentary about all of us who strive to attain the right to have such a photo taken, and the pride we express once achieved – however bad the photo looks.
It also put me in mind of those expat workers who, desperate to show that they have been successful to those back home they pay for stage managed photos that show them as they wish to been seen rather than with any sense of truth and honesty – see here.
A Solomon-Godeau, Photography at the Dock, University of Minnesota Press, 1991
The National UAE, Sending home an alternate reality through portraits, Available at: http://www.thenational.ae/news/uae-news/video-sending-home-an-alternate-reality-through-portraits (Accessed 09/10/2014)