Curious Trends

13/12/2010

Exploring identity through photography


The theme of identity is explored by Lisa Holden in an exhibition of photographs called 'I won't be your mirror', currently showing at Diemar/Noble Photography until 8th January.

Originally a painter, Holden started using photography to document her adoptive family in the north of England, a project which spanned a period of ten years. Holden says she felt ‘out of place’, not just within her family, but also in the broader context of society as a whole. She was isolated and excluded by not knowing about her birth family and roots.


Holden began to explore ideas of identity by looking at the face as a mask – something that is malleable and can be changed at will.
She has used heavily pixilated close ups of the face, as well as group compositions in landscaped settings. Her work asks questions such as:

Is some kind of memory imprinted in our DNA?

Are our bodies roadmaps of where we come from and are going?

How do we reach a knowledge about ourselves?

By using internationally recognized historical imagery from Western cultural heritage, Holden shows how a ‘family tree’ or history can be created. She explores the layers of identity and memory, not personal identity, but a universal sense of selfhood in a society where many are divorced from their personal and cultural backgrounds, yet are still able to relate and connect with each other.

Her compositions are built up of multiple layers in the style of the Pre-Raphaelite period (drawing inspiration from artists such as Klimt and Schiele). Holden stretches the fabric of the image to its breaking point, using it organically to allow flaws and imperfections to appear – literally ‘showing the cracks’ as the layers and masks of identity slip. Much of her imagery combines two sitters – combining the real and the artificial, and the universal notions of self and identity.

Other curious trends in phtotography include:

Death - as recorded by Maeve Berry

Natural curiosities - as photographed by Brittain Bright

Collecting vintage prints - Albert Watson's latest  London exhibition

Add a Comment
Bookmark and Share