“Portrait of an unknown man with a beard” digital photos, work in progress started 2000
Individuals always tried to leave behind 'em some mark of their existence, their identity. Different cultures, civilizations, nations, epochs, has different appearance for that. The oldest identity mark is hand stamp found on the wall of Paleolithic cave. Fingerprints today are direct connection with that stamp. But more important thing, at least for Christian part of the world, happened when Jesus Christ left stamp of his face on a towel, so even God got his “official” identification. After that, when we want to identify something, we use main, front side, so, naturally, face becomes symbol of identity. Appearance of photography and mass media narrowed space of identity to a part of face, usually covered to hide someone’s identity - zone of eyes & eyebrows.
But, the same man that made ID system, Bertillon said about subjectivity of human eye: “ One can see just what he looks, but one looks just what one have in mind.” On the other hand, objectivity of photo-camera is instant and superficial. Even when photography was invented, there was no real dilemma whether it can take place in portraying, because, common opinion was that identity consists from layers (auras) and that photography can record only one of them.
That identity layers and inconstancy of identity are questions that I am dealing with, in some of my works.
“Portrait of an unknown man with a beard” - In these digital photos I have applied "eyes zone" of my close relatives and friends to my portraits in order to make a series of my ID photos with different identities or different parts (layers) of my identity, which are made by influence of that particularly person.
“I think of identity as being nomadic, multiple. We know only too well that identities pushed too far in one direction can be destructive. I consider myself able to move from one identity to another without any problem; to change and review these continually.” Orlan