A Shadow Of My Former Self
We have had the pleasure of communicating with Anne about her inspirations and intentions behind this fantastic photograph artwork, ‘A Shadow Of My Former Self’. Anne is currently studying for a Masters in Film Theory at Exeter University. Perhaps her study of motion pictures has inspired her evident interest in capturing movement.
Anne’s attention to movement creates an evanescent effect which reminds us of the ever-changing nature of the self and one’s own conception of this. It also adds a sense of vivacity to the work which is immediately compelling for viewers. Anne has commented on her interest in the concept that nothing is ever still – ‘a capture is an illusion; the static words on the page of a book are an illusion; the mind constantly wanders and wonders at super-enriched intra-worlds, those that exist for the artist, and those which exist in the memory of the viewer or reader simultaneously’. The human condition is indeed one of movement and a work of art which embodies this is refreshingly modern. It encourages us to think about the life of a work beyond its conception, but also the life of the figure depicted beyond the movement of capture, because they already seem to transcend that moment within the shot itself.
But who is it moving? Anne has explained that this is the ‘hyperself’, ‘the self with whom we are well acquainted, but who exists beyond the veil’; Anne also uses the words ‘ephemeral’, ‘omnipresent’ yet still ‘physical’ to describe this other self, and contrasts it to what appears in a conventional selfie. At Spellbinder we are very intrigued by this idea of an alternative self and the ability of the lens to catch this. Photographs are often associated with being staged. Perhaps it is a challenge that photographers must always confront: how can they achieve a more authentic, a more genuine work of portraiture? Reaching after something ‘ephemeral’ yet still ‘physical’ is an inspired way of paradoxically combining the intangible and the tangible, the self you know and yet do not know. Anne cites the ‘archetypal and metaphysical symbolism in the works of Bill Viola’ whose work she saw at his London Exhibition in 2019 as her inspiration for this other self. For readers interested in Anne’s inspirations, you might want to check out Viola’s website by clicking here.
Another striking part of Anne’s technique is the simplicity of her monochrome colour scheme. This allows the eye to focus on the central figure and also alerts us to the lack of detail which we might use to subconsciously judge the figure in the photograph. This is well-suited to Anne’s intention of showing us a more complex sense of self which is not available on the surface, because the colours strip away this surface detail and invite us into a space of creative and almost spiritual ambiguity. Indeed, Anne has admitted to being more interested in that which is omitted than that which is in front of her. This is a beautiful approach to photography as it allows Anne to achieve something quite different from conventional photography and probe something more abstract and even metaphysical whilst still working with a physical medium and tangible product.
This photograph is part of a series of 18 shadow images. We hope that we can see more of these from Anne in the near future. Best of luck with your creative journey Anne and we hope that our readers love your work as much as we do.
Amber Kennedy, Editor-in-Chief