How to be invisible: the art of photography
This is my first blog post for Testbeds. As a photographer I adopt the unique position of being able to make myself invisible. Importantly (as will become clear throughout this research) I choose to make myself invisible. In addition to this, by standing behind the lens I can give people more prominence in the frame, making them appear more visible.
I have chosen the two photos above because they demonstrate how this works in practice. The first photograph is a document of a piece I made in collaboration with students at Trinity Laban. In documenting the process, I have tried to give certain participants prominence, whilst trying not to capture my reflection in the mirror. The second photograph is a document of Performing Small Spaces, a piece made between myself, creative writer Gemma Seltzer and dance artist Marina Collard. Evidently, as the photograph demonstrates, I am not present. Purely by documenting the work, I have rendered myself invisible. More to the point, I have consciously made the decision to be absent in the resulting photograph.
Hopefully it's been established that I do not like being photographed. On reflecting on why this might be, I wonder if it is that being absent allows me to evade "seeing oneself as others see one" (Massumi). The question is why? Is it the photograph or the act of photography ‘the void’ of the lens that petrifies me? It could of course be both. This is what I aim to find out over the next few months.
I will asking for opinions from people who do and do not like being photographed, so watch this space for details on how to participate.