Brazilian photographer, Lais Pontes, “became a photographer to understand herself better”. Our journeys as photographers really do help us understand ourselves, our influences, and our intentions. Photography helps us understand why we are drawn again and again to certain subjects and allows us to explore new terrain and process it in a meaningful way.
After working in her family’s business at age 17, Lais decided to persue photography full time at Universidade de Fortaleza. In 2010, she moved to NYC to study at the International Center of Photography, and is now beginning her applications for an MFA program. “I use performance and photography to search for my own voice and create a work full of freshness and sensitivity. How I feel, all the confusion in my mind and how I relate to the world are my inspiration at the moment.”
Lais explores perception and judgement in her new series, Born Nowhere.
Born Nowhere: Does the perception of the world around us change as we look at an alternative image of ourselves? Does the world see us in a different way when presented with this different image?
According to some theories of Personality (Carl Rogers, Skinner, Maslow), each individual is the result of the interplay of 3 factors: what the person is, what he or she wants to be and what others believe this person is. This project seeks to understand how a change of a person’s facial features, expression or physiognomy, can affect the observer’s interpretation of what is being observed.
By using digital techniques, the photographer transforms facial characteristics giving herself a new personality. With no further information provided, the images are posted on Facebook and viewers are asked to provide their interpretation thereby creating a unique persona with its own name and characteristics. The description of this new person/persona is influenced by what psychoanalysts call “projection”, that is, the viewer’s background, reality and fantasies.
What one sees is what one wants to see.
Sells clothes to live, party to survive, sometimes replace the guy from the gallery next door, divorced parents, her boyfriend is a Dj, lives in Brazil – Vila Mariana, born nowhere, In and out of rehab, not sure about her sexuality yet.
Always laughs too loud, happy and sure of herself, is very sexy and drives the boys crazy when she moves her hips, uses men for her own benefit at her convenience, her dream is to become a super star and have her own house, lived in Bahia for many years, now lives in New Orleans with her teenager son and sings in a small jazz club, born nowhere.
18 years old, mixed-race (Russian and Japanese), had double eyelid surgery, was very quiet and after the surgery she became the kind of popular girl, every boy wants her, born nowhere, spoiled teenager and selfish, is going to study social politics at a renowned university and have a great career.
23 years old, mixed race, rock and roll, white trash, Hells Angels’ biker chick, loud and a lot of trouble, tattoo artist, born nowhere, on and off relationship with Mike a very successful guy, entrepreneur, free-spirited like her, loves the
outdoors, sporty kind, plays the acoustic guitar a bit, she will marry him because he is fun, they both like to party and can be quite provocative and flirty, she can stand her ground, but also isn’t afraid to be vulnerable.
5th grade teacher, married to her high school sweetheart who runs an organic farm in Alabama, he doesn’t look at her since 1998 but she is fine, born nowhere, has a big heart, however gets easily upset, her dream is to move to a big city and to start her own business, has a secret lover (20 years older than her).
Child artist, cheerleader and beauty queen in the past, housewife by day, swinger by night, mother of four, loves to make cookies for the Club Book and apple pie for charity events, born nowhere.
Always dreamed of diamonds and pearls, but can only afford fake jewelry as she is raising 4 kids by herself, despite still being very young, dresses like that since she married an old man, was never loved so she felt happy when her husband died, was selling Avon and tapioca on weekends to survive, now has a public position at the government bureau, still selling Avon, is middle class but strongly believes that she is from the high-society, or pretends to be, just bought her new compact car and drives with her seat all the way to the front, loves fake plants and thinks that the the latest trend is to draw little nail-polish flowers on her nails.
50 years old, an upper east side lady, comes from a traditional and influential Jewish family, is married to a diplomat, has 2 sons, and she is now looking for a good Jewish girl that could marry Jacob (her 29-year-old oldest son), she is the head of her family, a leader who is very persuasive, has a very strong personality, controlling, practical, thinks that can buy everyone, born nowhere, loves botox and to shop at Bergdorf, dyes her hair every 2 weeks and her eyebrows are tattoos, knows that a friend of her husband has a secret love for her but she will never do anything, she has elegance.
Former stripper, rough childhood, married to Ken Smith (an old rich man who buys her diamonds, expensive purses and dresses), living in LA and weekends in Vegas, drives silver Mercedes SLS, born nowhere, has a tattoo of a snake around her ankle, drinks a martini at noon every day, meets three times a week with Frederick, a former LAPD and now her personal trainer and lover, waiting for her husband to die and finally become an actress.
23 years old, very good daughter and used to be a good student, born nowhere, just came back from a 3 year long journey in South East Asia, trying to get back into the norm of the occidental life in California but fitting in is now a bit tough, thinking about move to Búzios and open a little surf or tattoo shop with her boyfriend.