Taylor Clarke – Denying the Self Portrait

Here is her series “Skin”

I have produced a series of images that is primarily devoted to attempting to deny the self in the self-portrait, which stemmed from an overwhelming resonance I have with the unique and radical teachings of Buddhism, specifically the idea of anattā meaning no-self. The self that is represented in these images is determined by my own physical being – my gender, age, size, ethnicity etc. but the camera settings help to distort this, while I myself attempt to warp these facets in the performative process; ultimately attempting to relinquish myself of these defining qualities.

By putting myself in the picture I am the operator and the performer; I control the privacy, have the freedom to experiment endlessly and ultimately decide how I am portrayed and what I want to represent. The project corresponds with complex and diverse notions of self-representation and allowed for a large degree of self-discovery as I came to develop a wider understanding of how these images represented – and what they meant for – me as a young woman in contemporary society. Hence, my self-examination through the medium of photography conveys broader ideas of femininity, empowerment, sexualisation, ambiguity and anonymity. And practically, engages in a dialogue with photography itself – playing against the camera, examining how it responds to movement and utilising an experimental methodology, embracing the serendipitous and consciously attempting to create unpredictable information. The images required no additional post-production editing aside from saturation and contrast changes, everything you see in the images was a direct effect of my performative process.

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