Ben Goddard explores self-portraiture in his photographs from ‘Hey You Yeah You, Reflecto Over Here’. It was a journey that began in Google Image, looking at pictures taken in mirrors, the reflection a distorted reality, a portal almost, a space to create a new world, a new context in which to view himself. As he says himself:
My self-portraits evoke a feeling of youthful intuition. The scenes reflect the tension between my desire to undertake adult responsibilities and my urge to escape back into my old childhood bedroom. When I am behind instead of in front of the camera, I search with childlike curiosity for small details and objects in the world that are playful yet strange, and that feel removed from their surroundings.
Goddard is theatrical, each picture a play on different aspects of his personality, environment and state of mind, he literally reflects reality through a mirror in order to tell his own truth, the narrative somewhat skewed, distorted, warped and often humorous.
In many ways these are meta portraits; the artist taking photos of his reflection with us behind the scenes watching him taking pictures of himself, the viewer and the subject intertwined, both in and out of the space, both active and passive spectators of the image. There are many levels on which to look, think and contemplate in these images – both aesthetically and conceptually – but ultimately each portrait tells its own story, each tableaux a building block, another angle from which to see Goddard.
He has spoken of portraiture in the age of social media as a new realm of self representation, projection becoming an occupation, part of human interaction, a status update. Perhaps we’re now so entangled in the notion of self projection that we believe in our own creations. We have become our own Frankenstein monster. Here’s what Goddard has to say about his work:
To photograph a mirror means to me a state of play by myself and to find humor in my own image. It means to photograph an object that is a phenomenon of photography in the same way that a dark room with light shining through is. When I am photographing a mirror that is not reflecting myself, I think about how the mirror is what is inside my SLR camera that enables me to take the picture that I am taking. It makes me realize that the mirror is a surface that can never be devoid of imagery.