Exercise: Masquerades – Lee and Morrissey

  • Is there any sense in which Lee’s work could be considered voyeuristic or even exploitative? Is she commenting on her own identity, the group identity of the people she photographs or both?

I would definitely state that Lee’s work could be considered voyeuristic, but because she approached her subculture groups and got permission to be with them for a three month period I would not classify her work as exploitative. Voyeuristic most certainly as she is providing insights into subcultures that viewers might not normally see. She is on the inside, looking in. I believe she is commenting on both her own identity and the group’s identity. By immersing herself into a subculture for a long period she cannot exclude comments on their identities.

  • Would you agree to Morrissey’s request if you were enjoying a day on the beach with your family? If not, why not?

I probably would agree to her request if I was on the beach with my family. I would regard it as a bit of fun.

  • Morrissey uses self-portraiture in more of her work, namely Seven and The Failed Realist. Look at these projects online and make some notes in your learning log.

Morrissey’s The Failed Realist series is a set of images in which her daughter painted her face. Face painting is an activity that her daughter thoroughly enjoyed but in these instances it is the daughter that is doing the painting and depicting fairy tale characters, a movie that she had watched or some dream. In these images, Morrissey has assumed a deadpan expression, becoming the canvas for her daughter’s artwork.

 In her Seven Years series, Morrissey and her sister (there is a seven year age gap, hence the name of the series) re-enact scenes from old family photographs. They use period clothing from the 1970’s and assume the identity of other siblings and their parents, using her parents’ house for the settings. It is interesting to see the expressions and awkwardness of the poses that must have existed originally. There are not many smiles in the set of images and there is a sense of teen self-consciousness that runs through the set.

Bibliography

Trish Morrissey. The Failed Realist [online] Available from: http://www.trishmorrissey.com/works_pages/work-tfr/workpg-01.html [Accessed 29 October, 2015]

Trish Morrissey. Seven Years [online] Available from: http://www.trishmorrissey.com/works_pages/work-sy/workpg-01.html [Accessed 29 October, 2015]

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