Acclaimed Photographer Examines Social Media and Identity Construction with Two Compelling Photo Series
Lais Pontes, a Brazilian conceptual photographer, is drawing widespread acclaim for her fascinating photo series, ‘Born Nowhere’ and its follow up, ‘Born Now Here’ – a collection of digitally manipulated photos which challenge ideas of identity, online culture and social media as an extension of the self.
The first series sees Lais take self-portraits, before manipulating them to give herself a range of different features – whether it’s blond hair and blue eyes, an elongated nose, higher cheekbones, increased cosmetic enhancement or a modified skin tone. Then, Lais posts the image to social media and asks her audience to endow this new ‘character’ with a range of personality traits and characteristics, based on how she looks.
The resulting descriptions are the result of a psychoanalytical phenomenon known as ‘projection’ – where the viewers are mining their own background, their history and their fantasies, and allowing these experiences to influence the description of each new character. This gives an insight into how slight changes in a person’s facial features or outward appearance can alter how someone is perceived by a wider audience in the social media era.
Lais says, “My main aim with Born Nowhere was to investigate the social media phenomenon and its influence on human behaviour, in particular, the relationship between an individual’s online and offline existence.”
After ‘Born Nowhere’ came the follow-up project – ‘Born Now Here’, in which Lais extends her investigation into social media and the construction of identity. Lais returns to the virtual ‘characters’ created by her previous project and develops their identities, giving each character a personal Facebook account. Lais is then pictured in character-specific costumes, with identifying objects, embodying the character and challenging the virtual biography previously constructed by social media users.
Lais adds, “Born Now Here allowed me to experience a shift in my role as the creator of these characters – instead, I almost became a viewer of my own artwork. I’m thrilled with the way the project has turned out, with the characters in a continuous state of transition and development, through the deconstruction and reconstruction of their various different personality which, of course, where drawn from the original Born Nowhere.”
The future looks bright for Lais, as she receives international acclaim for her conceptual photography. In the coming years, she will continue to strive for a better understanding of the construction of art in the social media era, as well as creating insightful new projects that interrogate how social media interacts with our personal identity.
Dakota Digital for Lais Pontes
Media contact: Fiona Warren-Bassett
Tel UK: 01623 428996
Tel US: 917–720-3025