Friday, April 13, 2018

Sylvia Gutierrez reviews Laurence Demaison

Between 1993 and 2009, Laurence Demaison, a French photographer, exclusively focused her work on self-portraits. In later years, Demaison began to use mannequins and dolls as her subjects in her photographs, yet her main concept is still to dissolve and manipulate of the female body or “self”. Apart from utilizing a few darkroom procedures to manipulate her images, majority of Demaison’s work is achieved within the camera through double/multiple exposures, playing with shutter speed, using different lighting techniques, liquids and reflections, etc.
        As mentioned before, Laurence Demaison’s work is mainly self-portraits. Nevertheless, Demaison does not use herself to represent the main subject/concept, rather it is more for the consistency and availability of the subject itself within her work to be able to conceal, distort and reconstruct it in a form which is more acceptable for her concept. For Laurence Demaison, the “female’s body is like a prison” in which throughout the history of art the common aesthetic of the female body has been viewed as sensual, where “she is at the mercy of all men's eyes”. Demaison, attempts to break that “prison” by applying different in-camera techniques to manipulate and distort our view of what we expect of a woman’s body.
        For example, in the two images shown, Personne n°4 and Séquence Un Jour Sang we can clearly see the manipulation, although accomplished differently, to achieve that distortion of the body or the “self”. In Séquence Un Jour Sang, Demaison uses a sort of liquid and its reflective quality to dissolve her own image. By making it into a sequence, she has created this anticipation for the viewer of the possibility of actually seeing her face as she spreads the liquid on the flat surface. Contrary to the viewer’s expectancy, Demaison distorts the reflection thus going back on her concept of breaking free from that female prison made from the audience. Furthermore, with Personne n°4, Demaison decides to create a full body shot with multiple exposures f her hands framing and concealing her own figure. Although obscuring the female body, one can still decipher what it is by looking of how some hands curve a points. In this image she has created almost a phantom like representation of what could be the female frame.
       Overall, I find Laurence Demaison to be very inspiring as my body of work also consists of self-portraits, and without even knowing it I have taken a few similar shots of what she has done. Seeing her portfolio online has motivated me to explore and push myself with different camera and lighting techniques, as well in looking more into on how we view self-portraits.

Personne n°4

Séquence Un Jour Sang

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