Forget Nostalgia is a journey through which I imagined how my life in a portrait photographer’s studio would have been in Great Britain a century ago.
Photographing myself in a parade of shifting styles, re-creating scenic backdrops and posing in Victorian costume, I have re-staged postcard scenes and reenacted them using contemporary photographic practices.
I focused my attention on this chapter in the history of self-presentation when people dressed and posed for their portraits so that future generations would see them in their best. For the first time in photographic history people stepped into the light and were seen as individuals rather than the anonymous masses of previous centuries.
During this period portrait studios were present in every town and village. In the studio, customers had a choice of scenic painted backdrops and props, ranging from pastoral and seaside landscapes to the evocation of aristocratic splendour. In larger cities, studios offered theatrical settings and costumes allowing the sitters to indulge in wilder fantasies.
I find those portraits of unknown sitters really intriguing; anonymous to the viewer and disconnected from all that linked them to a place, their faces look confidently out, knowing full well who they are while posing and pretending to be someone else.
Self assured in front of the camera and surrounded by various grayscale monochrome backdrops, playing the artist, photographer and model’s role, I physically explored the mystery of those fragments of popular and creative portraiture, experiencing the common desire of being remembered a century later.