The risk with this project is that it may damage all the other articulations about disability by allowing the body to dominate. My objective here is to represent my body honestly and in relation to impairment, but to do it in a way to complements the other work.
An obvious approach would be through straight portraiture and so that is where I begin but in what style? Formal? Vernacular? With glasses? Without glasses? In context or not? What should I include? The face? The head? Head and shoulder? Upper torso; full body? Should I offer a contemporary presentation of self or an historical one?
Here are some vernacular images of me taken over a long period of time.
Each one of these images works individually as a narrative but not necessarily in a way that I want. They all create their own problems. They are all historical and so don’t speak of my current status or outlook and work as a collective narrative about my past. Indeed the settings and contexts are too strong. Compare the images above to these below.
These images are both current but dislocate me from any meaningful contexts. Moreover some of the second set – those with my hat and glasses on – look more contrived by the use of props. But by concentrating on the face and gaze they offer some insight into who I am rather than what I am.
Both sets show my public self and not what is hidden beneath my clothes.
Would any of the images help me with my discourse? Neither set offers the viewer much insight into my experience and outlook and what I want to say visually. Rather, I think inclusion of these types of images would muddy the water and allow the representation of me to dominate and obscure rather than illuminate on the experience of being disabled in modern society.