Thursday, August 27, 2009

Identity vs. Camera...

This is my kind of tintype. On first glance, this fellow seems to exist independently of the prying eye of the camera. That extended finger on the saw suggests a hint of self-awareness though, of cinematic flare. Or does it? Then the rakish tilt of the hat. Was this 1875 meat masher a closeted runway model, is he oblivious to the idea of being recorded, or somewhere in between? Your answer probably says more about you than him.

We all know the feeling of self-loathing that can arise when we take in images, videos, or audio recordings of ourselves. And the relief of "that one's not too bad." It's very unhealthy to dwell in this space for too long, but it's an important one to consider. These symbolic externals are all that many people can discern in the realms of human interaction.

How strange that we should live on the inside of our skin, unable to read the never-ending story of our physical presence the way we devour others'. We're on to this of course; the fear of not knowing what we're projecting at any given moment feeds many mirror addictions.

Our physical selves almost always oversell or betray our inner identity. I mean, what are the chances of a perfect match-up? Now add the lossy, warping "lenses" of recording devices into the mix and all hell breaks loose. Does our core identity adapt to the information it receives through mirrors and photographs? Do we fawn over animals and people who are blind or deaf because of their "natural," unaltered behavior? Which curations of our physical selves are efficacious? Noxious? Pathetic? Unholy?

In conclusion, identity in the modern world is a tough one.


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