Within a society overwhelmed by heightened observation and obsession with the perception of self, it is difficult to become invisible and to portray ourselves accurately to an outside observer. The inspiration for this series comes from a quote by philosopher Fred Moten; “…understanding that being looked at, is an act of violence.” This series explores the idea of imposed perception, specifically that of the photographer, and how it alters the identity portrayed within the portrait.
This series is composed of twelve digital colour self-portrait photographs, taken at both indoor and outdoor locations and are of a fashion-based aesthetic and style. Within each photograph a mirror disrupts, renegotiates, and alters the space and the identity within the environment. The purpose of the mirror is to symbolize the projected perception of the photographer onto the identity of the subject they photograph. Especially within fashion portraits, a model loses control of their identity, and becomes a chameleon to portray whatever personality is imposed onto them, which is usually more akin to the photographer’s ideology.
As the mirror acts to disrupt the scene and question its authenticity, it introduces the discussion of how the photographer’s intention frames and overtakes the identity of the model.
Madison Bowman is a Toronto-based photographer working in fashion and street photography. Her work is mainly inspired by social media branding and street photography, as well as contemporary photographers such as Nan Goldin and William Eggleston. Creating photographs mainly in the digital realm, Bowman’s style explores how to combine editorial work with conceptual exhibition based art.