A “constructed identity”
You will need:
One clear photo of each student
A4 or A3 paper – two sheets for each student
A black and white photocopier that can enlarge images
A small mirror for each student
Colour pencils, oil pastels, gouache or watercolour paints, plus small paintbrushes (or all of these)
Coloured papers, magazines, newspaper
Scraps of fabric, lace
One glue stick for each student, or one between two students
You will each work with a black-and-white photocopy of a portrait photo of yourself, enlarged to A4 or A3 size. (Remember that a portrait photograph generally focuses on the subject – you in this case – facing the camera and posing for the shot.)
When you have your enlargement, carefully cut out the image of yourself, so that you are separated from any background. Now carefully place this cut-out image of yourself onto another sheet of paper of the same size as the paper you have just cut from.
Now to construct an identity: Think about what kind of character you would like to be, how you would like to be seen and what you would like to be known as. Think of a specific audience: Is it your friends at school? Your parents? Someone you admire enormously?
You want your image to project a particular personality. How would you present this personality? How would that version of “you” dress? What environment would you be in when photographed?
Now, with all the materials at your disposal, glue (or collage) the cut-out papers onto this, in order to contruct clothes or hats, a new hairstyle, or perhaps some face make-up, to reinvent yourself and construct your desired identity. Then, shifting your attention to the background, create your own context to match this personality. Where would you be? What might you own? Who might you be with?
Maybe you can change – whether subtly or to a more extreme degree – the body language in your photograph? Even a tilt of the head, a wave of the hand or arm, can convey a great deal. See what you can do with your image! Cut and add from magazine pictures, if need be.