The Otherness of Self

The Otherness Of Self by Kailum GravesFuck kale. Fuck yoga. Fuck bamboo cotton. Fuck vegetable smoothies. Fuck slim legs. Fuck organic. Fuck quinoa beet salad. Fuck berries. Fuck alternative. Fuck cold-pressed juice.  Fuck airport selfies. Fuck summer. Fuck leafy greens. Fuck detox. Fuck athletic. Fuck the inherent bullshit of palatable capitalism disguised as wellness on Instagram.

The Otherness of Self
2014–ongoing (printed in 2016)
450 digital c-type prints
Each 10.16cm x 10.16cm, overall dimensions 304.8cm x 152.4cm

Mirrors for sale on Gumtree—the images form part of a larger project to preserve and curate Gumtree classifieds.

Photography isn’t a tool to document and record reality; it’s a means to manipulate it. Nonetheless, these accidental self-portraits seem to capture the nuances of human existence—the absurdities, the ironies, and the small dramas of contemporary life—overlooked by the deliberately flattering selfie, or constructed photojournalistic image. They lack the technical expertise of traditional or mainstream art; yet, they capture a vulnerability that’s almost impossible to recreate. This has been achieved both consciously and by mistake. Appropriation is never truly random, it invariably requires some selection and presentation by the artist; however, the self-portraits themselves are a happy accident—taken to sell a mirror. This accident does away with the idea of a trained and self-aware self-portrait (selfie) photographer, and perhaps even the idea of a trained or self-aware artist. Printed in the square format of Instagram, the work was inspired by Penelope Umbrico’s For Sale/TVs From Craigslist series and Walker Evans’ Subway Portraits.

Detailed view: