Exercise: Masquerades

Nikki S. Lee

Is her work voyeuristic or even exploitative?

There is a sense, perhaps, that whenever other people are being used (not paid models) then there is a form of intrusion involved This is the same with Trish Morrissey. Other people are being used by the artist – models are employed, but these people aren’t models, they are ordinary people used by the artist. Is informed consent (as opposed to a simple yes/no) being given by those taking part – do they know how the photos will be used and to what purpose?

To me what the work of all three of these photographers is doing is challenging the notion of ‘the camera never lies’ and a questioning of notions of identity. Apart from that I’m not sure that it tells me much more about the artists or what they are trying to say.


Would I agree to a request by Trish Morrisey to swap places?

This is very difficult to answer as it may well come down to how persuasive Morrisey was in explaining her concept for the photo. This raises an interesting question – when you are not using paid models but trying to persuade ordinary people in the street (or on the beach) to be part of a scene then the ability to ‘sell’ your idea is just as much a key skill for the photographer as the initial imaginative concept or possession of technical skills. The photographer as salesperson?


Trish Morrisey

Seven Years is interesting work. Morrisey appears to have taken several key pints or episodes from seven years of her life and recreated them. Each image simply has a date as a title. It requires the viewer to deconstruct the image to see what the different episodes are and how each of them may be important to the artist.

I didn’t find The Failed to be as compelling as Seven Years. In the failed a number of head and shoulders self-portraits are taken from exactly the same position and with identical lighting. The only diferences are that Morrisey has used face paint to paint a different pattern on her face each time and each image has a different title. The overall effect being that each image is a ‘failed’ attempt to portray the title e.g. ‘superhero’ or ‘ladybird’. To me it didn’t really work as I could see no relationship between the painted pattern on the face and the title of the photo.