23 September 2010

Laura Sackett: Liminal Portraits

One contemporary issue within the world today is the growing use by teenagers of internet social networking sites, such as Facebook, Myspace and other internet applications, such as Instant Messengers, etc. This is just one of the many possible issues which I could choose to look at for my practical project...

As explained in her artist statement, Laura Sackett saw this issue occurring and decided to document it photographically.
"My project, Liminal Portraits, chronicles my investigation into the teenage world of social networks and video chatting by creating remote portraits with teens using iChat on multiple computers.  I am interested in how the ichats are uniquely narcissistic because one sees a picture of oneself talking into the 'camera', and how this might affect issues surrounding identity, especially for teens.  During this highly transitional time in life, when teens are experimenting with and forming their identity, they have the opportunity to create multiple virtual identities - every time they log on to a computer.  My project explores a new form of portraiture, one that crosses social networking technology with the project of photographic portraiture to investigate this new form of the virtual self, which, like my adolescent subject, is liminal - and constantly changing."
(Artist statement from artist's website)

I think that this issue which Sackett raises is a very important contemporary issue but I'm not sure whether I agree with the way in which she has documented it.  The way in which she has chosen to photograph this issue does make 'sense', but personally, based on the images, it seems a bit like the issue is more about the dangers of the internet, rather than the identity of teenagers using the internet.  To me, I feel like I am invading their personal space.  I feel like I am also 'stalking' them, suggesting that the theme should be about the predators on the internet instead.

The quality of the images are also really low which, I think works with the theme, but I don't think that it is a very good technique to be using as a fine art photographer.  Overall, Sackett's ideas and concepts are very inspirational for my own practical project but, personally, I don't like the way in which she has executed these ideas.

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