Jane Szabo: Sense of Self

July 7, 2014 9:59 PM

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Jane Szabo: Sense of Self

The images in Jane Szabo's Sense of Self exists at the intersection of multiple threads of contemporary photography -- self-portraiture generally, and by women artists in particular; a related exploration along the continuum of gender roles and the construction of identity; and as a purely formal matter, the narrative potential for serial images and the emotional depths of abstraction. Szabo started making this work following a period in which her series of environmental portraits called dis.place.ment explored parents photographed in their childrens' rooms and vice versa. Whether the subject was male or female was not as important to Szabo as was the sense of dissonance that the displacement of the person in the space created. The work ignited in Szabo the somewhat unsettling conviction that, as she says, "It was time to turn the camera around." The gestural, impactful, evasive, awkward beauty speaks to the vulnerability and self-examination Sense of Self was conceived to chronicle.

Susan Sontag and other public intellectuals engaged with the problematic charisma of photography often deconstructed the language of the medium, which is the language of the hunt. Take, capture, shoot. Its predatory leanings were especially apparent in the male photographer/female model structure th...

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