Follow Piece

Follow, 2015 – 2016.

After Sophie Calle.

In collaboration with Karsten Fatur. 

In October of 2015, I was messaged on gay social-media app Grindr by photographer, Karsten Fatur. At the time, Fatur was soliciting participation in a project to "document the diversity of the LGBTQ community in Halifax." For this project, he asked each participant to chose an activity that would represent them in their portrait. Critical towards this approach to representation/identification, I asked Fatur if he would consider a more involved approach to my participation.

Having not met in person, and having only exchanged first names and single images, I asked Fatur to use social media and any other means available to him to find me in a public place and take my picture without my knowledge. Working in the tradition of Sophie Calle's Suite Venitienne (1979) and The Shadow (1981) my approach was to inverse the subject-author relationship that Fatur's original proposal had relied on. Rather than the subject performing a role for the photographer, this work imposed a role on the photographer and relieved the subject (myself) of the responsibility to perform an identity. 

Disruptive to the proposed project, this was a way of enacting my belief that identity is not individually authored, but is constituted in how we live our lives and in what actions we take in the world – a kind of historical materialism for identity. 

Photography: Karsten Fatur.