Victoria Baraga – [←] Self-portrait (2012); [→] Self-portrait II (2012)
I could’ve sworn I posted the Self-portrait II previously–but I’ve spent the last half-hour trying to find it and I see no trace, so…
It’s possible I had it saved as a draft and subsequently opted not to post it.
There’s not one but two layers of ubiquity working against these images. The TLR, waist level finder in the mirror trope deserves every bit of shit the bathroom mirror selfie gets. (Folks who pursue the former tend to get a pass they shouldn’t because they’re doing it the old-fashioned way and it’s not as straight forward was aiming the camera and pushing a button–but both tend to be devoid of any vivacity.)
There are exceptions of course. Laura Kampman does some exquisite things within very narrowly circumscribed margins–i.e. there’s a ridiculous degree of technical mastery at work in her better photos. Baraga, on the other hand, tends to fixate on capturing herself in the act of watching herself.
The result is conceptual satisfying–the viewer watches her watch herself, while she watches herself experience intimacy. It’s a clever deconstruction of the triad where the photography use the camera in an effort to parse time and space in such a way that the viewer of the resulting photo see much in the same way the photographer did in the moment of making the image. In this case, the mirror is an impartial arbiter allowing her to focus on one relationship in the triad–photographer to subject and subject to photographer in a fashion that presumes an empathetic response from the viewer.
There’s life an artfulness to these images that far exceeds 98% of comparable work out there.