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In part staged images of absurd personalities, in part snapshots of spontaneous performance, Chamelienne is both a product of my own invention as well as an homage to Cindy Sherman, whose brilliance lies in the provocative reinventions of the “self” she has achieved over the past four decades. I was interested in producing a series of exaggerated, semi-realistic, bizarre portraits using the same face in myriad dynamic variations, to explore the fluidity that lies in the constructs of identity, gender, and physical beauty. I offered my models the liberty to construct new personas using only a few props and a handful of old costume pieces that were lying around. The final series we collaborated on was a successful demonstration of how one’s outward appearance can not only be deceiving but also carefully and deliberately tampered with and constructed. What’s more, the eccentric characters that emerged from this liberal act of creation venture beyond what they seem: portraits of humorously disguised young women. They are, in fact, visual representations of the models’ perception of self, at their most hormonal moments; sometimes they feel emotionally disconnected and dark, other times they feel dramatic and performative. In defying the boundaries of sex and contemporary tastes in beauty, the images thus turn inwards. Through the prisms of absurdity and humor, the photographs embody the vague idea of the self in its plethora of forms and variations, both physically and emotionally.

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