In the series “Not In Your Face” the
t-shirt is starkly evident but these photographs are not about the t-shirt per se. They are about
identity, validation and perception. I look for individuals who stand out in a crowd by
their choice of the message on their back and for those people willing to pose for me. The messages are combinations
of pictures and words that are appropriated from contemporary culture but have
the unique effect of mixing up meanings and creating new meanings.
their own iconography that explore the cultural, political and social issues
that have an impact on our everyday lives. The t-shirt “performs a function of
identifying an indvidual’s social location instantly”. In the early months of 2012, the LA
Times ran a front page article describing the emergence of the t-shirt and
hoodie as a staple of the protest movement worn in support of Trayvon Martin, a
young man gunned down in Florida that became a cause célèbre throughout the
staple at rallies across the country, and it’s difficult to think of another item of clothing more
representative of the nation’s twitchy zeitgeist in April 2012. Sometimes it seems as
though the old-fashioned medium of the cotton t-shirt has done as much as the
Internet to spread the memes associated with the tragedy through the country — and the world.
of American subcultures and vernaculars which illustrate the current American identity.
These photographs demonstrate how these individuals wear a kind of “badge of
honor or trophy” that says “I belong to this group not the other”. T-shirts
speak to like-minded people; a particular t-shirt may be meaningful to those
with different views and affiliations.
themselves that advertises their hopes, ideals, likes, dislikes, political views, and personal
mantras. “The t-shirt speaks to issues related to ideology, differences, and myth: politics, race,
gender and leisure”.
meaning becomes apparent from the juxtaposition of many images. It is a universe of individuals
but when seen in groups they
create a picture of our time without the imposition of judgment. Is this
democracy at work? We may feel we know more about these individuals than we
really do. What is their story? Here their individual mystery is preserved and the power of
photography can celebrate our urge to unravel it.