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After photographing various conscripted friends who decorated themselves for me, at an open studio event I presented visitors with the statement below and asked them to create an appearance and let me photograph them. About fifty people participated.


An experiment in Looks and Appearances:


When we hear the following comments, we are often pleased:
“You look great in that color.”
“Have you been going to the gym? It appears that you've lost weight.”
“You've grown up!”
“You look ten years younger.”


When we hear a different kind of statement, we are often displeased:
“You've gained weight!”
“I'm sorry, I didn't recognize you in that.”
“Nice haircut! You should have done it that way years ago.”


Whether we intend to or not, we constantly present Looks and Appearances to our fellow humans. After all, our pets don't care what we look like. In our presentation of ourselves, we intend to entice or to repel, to conform or to stand apart, etc. and so on. We sometime we want people to appreciate us the way we are, and sometimes we want to project something we wish we were.


When I did this experiment on myself, I masked and decorated myself, and took photos. I found that I'm interested in creating shapes (expected), but I also want to hide (unexpected).


The experiment:


I'd like you to decorate yourself and let me take some photos of you. I have backdrops you can use, from flat black to flowered fabric. I have clothes, masks, paper you can draw on and use, toys, wire you can make things out of, string, ribbon, etc. I hope this will be fun. I image that other people will think of ways to do this I would never think of, and I'm looking forward to that.
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