Anna Fawcus’ Amalgamation of Self
Australian artist Anna Fawcus is intently searching for herself through photography. However, the content behind Mixed Emotion (which shortens to M.E. ) doesn’t resemble a run-of-the-mill collection of self portraiture. Instead of focusing on her own visage, she instead has turned her attention toward the individuals most influential in her personal development – her parents. We had the opportunity to question Fawcus on what she’s discovered in the ragged edges of Xeroxed expressions.
What role did your parents play in your life growing up?
My parents played a significant role in my life growing up, through both nature and nurture.
Can you talk a bit about the dynamics between your mother and father? What do they have in common with one another and in what ways do they differ?
My parents are both quite private people, they’ve put themselves way outside of their comfort zones by participating in this project. I’m reluctant to discuss personal information about them, as I know they wouldn’t appreciate it.
What qualities of the two do you see within yourself?
This project began as a personal search of identity; looking backwards to move forwards. My search for identity took me to a place that the physical version of myself was no longer needed in the final self portraits. “Half him. Half her. I am.” This doesn’t necessarily refer to specific qualities from my parents but more to an overall sense of creation through the influence of these people who give us life and then shape our experience in such a significant way.
Rather than creating a digital composite or placing your images side by side, you chose to physically tear and unite separate portraits as one. Was the act of physically conjoining photographs important to you conceptually?
The work was created on a medium format film camera; a Mamiya RZ67 Pro II. The original prints were darkroom prints from negatives and so the work was always physical, and it was a natural progression that the destruction and reconstruction was also a physical process. Conceptually speaking, the physical tears in the work are symbolic of the damage and repair in these relationships that create us. It is sometimes the rough edges in our formation that most define us.
Since its inception, M.E. has gained a lot of traction in the international fine art photography community. What do you think it is about your series of self portraits that resonates so deeply with viewers?
We all have parents and we are all formed to some extent through our parents presence or absence in our lives, as they mold us and shape us through the early years, either by intention or lack of. From that perspective, this body of work is universal, allowing viewers to easily identify with their own sense of self and creation.