Picture Yourself

Olivia Pintos-Lopez (2010)


Olivia Pintos-Lopez created this project, which used photos taken in a black and white photochemical booth in Melbourne, merged using computer software, to create a single photo of each participant. As she describes it,

"Shopping centers and commercial structures are the public space of the modern world, supplanting streets and squares as places of social activity and congregation. These spaces appear open to public, yet through surveillance and design, the modes of inhabitation are pre-determined to discourage spontaneity and subversive or antisocial activity. I hoped by inviting people to take part in the self-portrait project they would momentarily cross a threshold between their public and private self-perception. The act of engaging in a spontaneous non-commercial activity could underline the conformity of public behaviorrequired by interior commercial space.

"Using morphing software the strips were made into a singular image using one dominant element as the central focus: an eye, their smile or maybe shoulder position. The portraits were presented as diptychs, creating visual juxtapositions between unrelated visitors. The photos were printed larger than life size and exhibited in a strip along three walls. In addition, sound portraits were made through out the mall and presented as anonymous and overlapping stories disconnected from any particular portrait, overheard and decontextualized. The superimposition of multiple images and the layering of sound reflected the experience of walking through the Christmas shopping crowd, catching snippets of conversation and glimpses of personality."

More information and images on the Westspace website.

Contributed by Olivia Pintos-Lopez