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Future Self Portrait

Naa Teki Lebar // http://www.naateki.co.uk

I use a combination of theatrical and trivial elements in my photography to examine gender and socio-political issues of cultural displacement that are informed by my personal experience. I am interested in the re-staging of the symbolic; which is drawn from anecdotes of my life. My work is influenced by the kafkaesque and the cinematic which I employ through photography, utilising the image frame as a stage. My imagery juxtaposes banality and dramatisation that uses a documentary aesthetic. My work is shaped by extremes: I either confront the viewer’s gaze and have my subjects looking directly into her camera, demonstrating their awareness of being the subject, refusing to be passive by returning the gaze (in works such as Tourist, Future Self Portraits, A Family Portrait) or, in contrary, tries to escape or deny the viewer’s gaze (Grip). Either way, the notion of the Extra-diegetic gaze, are often an integral part of my work. The photographed subjects are always aware that they are both, subject and object of the spectator’s gaze. It is the awareness of being seen, or, what Laura Mulvey coined as ‘being-looked-at-ness’ which interests me, and through this process of exposing and concealing – which I also connect and apply through me idea of ‘the mask’ – I confront the viewer with strange worlds that are dream-like, absurd, uncanny and, at the same time, sober, rational and familiar.

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