Artist wears leather and lingerie

2008-05-24 02:06:37 GMT       2008-05-24 10:06:37 (Beijing Time)       Xinhua English

BEIJING, May 24 -- Catherine Cameron is both photographer and model in a dark series of self-portraits in which she is masculine and feminine, fierce and fragile, clad in leather and lingerie. She even becomes a Christmas tree, writes Zhang Qian

Norwegian photographer Catherine Cameron's multiple retrospective show "Ego and Persona" explores light, shadow and identity.

Her 32 black-and-white self-portraits are on exhibit in Red Town Salon Gallery in Shanghai Sculpture Space.

"Scandinavian nights must be long and dark in winter - that's my first impression when confronted with 'Ego and Persona'," says Jean Loh, curator of the exhibition. "Uniform blackness dominates the series."

Cameron (1958-81), a prominent figure in Norwegian contemporary photography, created and framed a world in which viewers can see past the artist and recognize something of themselves.

"In general I want my photographs to resonate human conditions, mirroring aspects of memory, longing, desire and ambiguity," said Cameron.

Photographing at close range, with tight framing, sometimes with the close-up turning into blow-up, the artist is both photographer and model, subject and object at the same time.

She plays with effects of chiaroscuro, blurring the details as she creates a profound melancholy while revealing a very intimate sensuality.

She uses the voluptuousness of lace and lingerie, the softness of feathers and slippers to emphasize women's bodies - on which she projects her themes, feelings and questions.

Cameron even decorates herself as a Christmas tree with blinking lights. Sometimes her masks are delicate, feminine, fragile and sensual; sometimes she shows a rough, strong and masculine side, powerful and like a dominatrix.

"In this introspective journey, boundaries between dream and reality, memory and truth are diffuse. The past and present are intertwined. Presence and distance is unresolved," wrote Cameron about her works.

"It seems to be a convention that female photographers tend to take photos of themselves," says curator Loh. "Are they more introspective than men or are they simply narcissistic? Or do they simply find it easier and less expensive to photograph themselves? I don't know."

In Cameron's case, according to Loh, self-portrait becomes disguise, disfiguration, even outrageous caricature of oneself as transvestite. She followed the pure tradition of classical photography, albeit with a new language (discreet use of a flashlight, also a trademark of Anders Petersen).

(Source: Shanghai Daily)

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