Across the world, right-wing populists are currently challenging fundamental human values such as solidarity, diversity, tolerance and human dignity, using a fear of multiculturalism and of loss of traditional identity. In my photo series I want to visualize alternative concepts of identity and make people aware that diversity is an essential part of being human and an intrinsic quality of identity.
Questions like ‘who is the real you?’ often suggest that every person might have a fixed, true, ‘real’ identity which could be uncovered. I try to illustrate how identities are not fixed, but shifting, fragmented and fluid or even conflicting. There can be multiple identities within a person like being a student, a parent, and an employee at the same time. Additionally, the way people choose to tell the stories of their lives and how they integrate their experiences into a narrative can shape who they are. So there is always a chance for reinvention.
By portraying different aspects of a person’s identity and even merging two portraits in a single photo I try to visualize the complex intersections and fluid transitions. Attempting to include their own stories, I asked people to choose an old photo which is somehow important for their present identities and also for a handwritten text about themselves. I use both to create a new image and then contrast it with the old photo.
Susanne Senekowitsch – I am my Narrative from Prager Fotoschule / Austria on Vimeo.
Download text: Über fluide Identitäten und narrative Wirklichkeiten