A person has no identity apart from his relationship with someone or is linked to something else. This fact is the reason why people latch onto practically anything in their desperate need to discover who they are. People will determine their identities through their appearances, occupation, abilities, family relationships, friends, religious affiliation etc. The subject of identity has been over the years explored, questioned and investigated with portrait photography.
It is impossible, as it is known, for a person’s true identity to be captured with a camera. People assume different personas’ in different situations, environment or circumstances. A different caption under an image or change of context will bring a new or different meaning. Thus, identity can change in an instant.
However, the deliberate and ambiguous strategy of performed portraiture is just one of the many approaches that artist have adopted to deconstruct and question what a portrait can do and how it functions. Some renowned photographers who have explored this genre are Cindy Sherman, Nikki S Lee, Rotimi Fani-Kayode and Samuel Fosso.
Portraiture is seen as a complex genre in photography because of its ambiguity and uncertainty. Despite this cloud of unsteadiness, it has moved away from its commercial roots (even though it is still very commonly used as an economic venture by most photographers in Nigeria and other parts of the world) to become a powerful tool in the encounter and/or exchange between the artist (photographer), the sitter and the viewer (audience or spectator).
The workshop will explore the issues of identity as it relates to the family set up or connection in the artist own environment, community and situation. The faculty and the participants will explore the motivations, desires, the codes and rituals that instigate the tensions evident in portraiture and which makes it one of the most compelling of artistic genres and also ones of the most popular.
Workshop Date : 02/12 – 13/12/2013
Trainers : Uche Okpa-Iroha