Photographs, 2 x 24” x 16”

Family Portrait – Self Portrait is a further exploration into the concepts of a nuclear family as an entity. By objectifying family to a seemingly contrasted element such as metal, which is a cold and hard material, the portraits seduce a further inspection. Although both portraits contain various metal piercing jewelry, the portrait on the right wall [see media materials for reference] conjures a more solitary emotion, as it basks in the emptiness of the environment. The portrait on the left assumes a forward focal point, but with protruding support coming from the distance.

The title itself commits to an ambiguity between whether or not this is a self-portrait or a family portrait. The question seems almost pointless when looking at pieces of metal, but by depersonalizing the image, it allows for a further inspection into the two concepts as individuals and as a relationship. A paradoxical inquiry arises from the previous statement, as any portrait, even with multiple people tells the story of a person in relation to other people, thus creating a concept of self-portraiture. Regardless of our relationship to our family, whether it is supportive or seemingly desolate, the interplay between the two cannot be separated to a certain degree. Even though there are significant differences between what the viewer sees on the left, the space in between, and what the viewer sees on the right in regards to color, space, and surface artifacts, this is a single portrait. The space in between the photos serves as a timeline that can be expanded and contracted between the two for as little or as long as it takes a person to bridge the gap between self-portraiture, family portraiture and temporal elements between the two. In some ways, the edges of each are the beginning and end of a narrative.

The objectification of family and self through the use of metal piercings is a personal exploration between the concepts and relationships of family, self, and identity. As my body modifications are an integral part of who I am, I often feel the way that I am shaped by them as part of my identity feels and looks more omnipresent then the overall effect that a nuclear family structure has had over me. Exploring these concepts concurrently has procured a sense that regardless of my relationship and feeling towards the concept of family and my identity (which is physically most apparent through the means of body modification), both have shaped me and seemingly becomes indistinguishable to what degree each has impacted my life.