Black & White Sugar Skull Part II

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15/1/13 Work in Progress Part II

In my previous post I have explained that the sugar skulls have provided inspiration for my black and white self portraits. Over the past week or two, I have been decorating the sugar skull moulds I produced last year; the floral patterns around the eye sockets have inspired me to reproduce this particular design for my self portraits.

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I do prefer using the black backdrop as the surrounding darkness does provoke an emotional response. These photographs I have uploaded are very dark compared to the photographs in my previous post; to me the darkness becomes a reminder of death. Something very strange had happened to me the other night; as I continued to stare at my self portraits, I was disturbed at the fact that I was looking at another version of myself. It’s a strange feeling when you view a photograph of yourself and you begin to see a completely different person.

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In a way I have created a character, a persona that emerges from my own self portraits. I then begin to wonder, what would I look like if I was dead? Would I just be buried in a coffin, surrounded by darkness? The Mexican sugar skulls on the other hand have become an area of interest for the past 12 months; the sugar skulls are associated with the Day of the Dead celebration in Mexico where death becomes just as important as life itself. I have been fascinated with the fact that the Day of the Dead is portrayed in vibrant colours and designs; I have always associated death with black and white.

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In my own photographic work, I have decided to replicate the sugar skulls via black and white self-portrait photography. As a result, the absence of colour does provoke a response towards death. In this particular project, I have combined both Mexican and Western / European perspectives of death.

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I have also realised that the dark backdrop does distort the shape of the face, the backdrop almost creates a triangular shape, which also creates a rather interesting effect. While some of the photos are blurry; this effect does add a distressed appearance to my self portraits, it does impact my own understandings of death.

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