Project 2 Masquerades Exercise 1

Is there any sense in which Lee’s work could be considered voyeuristic or even exploitative? Is she commenting on her own identity, the group identity of the people she photographs, or both?

I don’t feel that that Lee’s work is that of a voyeur. Voyeurism needs something of the sordid and scandalous i believe and her work does not meet the test of r such an accusation. It is explorative and it does rely on a degree of intrusion. I am uncertain the degree to which she shared her motives with the other people in her images but even if she didn’t i don’t think there intended exploitation. Her exploration requires something of engagement and participation in order for the work to have meaning. i reminded of the ‘participant observer’ in social research and the immersive sort of research undertaken by students trying to understand a subculture from the inside. 

Her work does raise ethical questions and there are questions I suppose about whether such a project would get the the ethccs committee of a university if someone wanted to infiltrate a group in order to understand it more. There is also no sense of harm to the other in the image, even they they are not aware of the nature of Lee’s interloper position.

Whilst the work is about identity i think Lee is trading who she is to be part of a subculture and as such the work focuses more on the values, clothes and culture of that group. It might even be argued that she is forfeiting her own identity in order to make this work. That raises questions about the boundaries of who she is and who she is observing and the bias that is inevitable when observing others. It is impossible to escape the lens of our own biography, conditioning and experience,

Would you agree to Morrissey’s request if you were enjoying a day on the beach with your family? If not, why not?

This is a really tough question. I think knowing that someone was an artists exploring a creative endeavour i would be quite willing to engage in this art work. But that is on the basis that I am a creative too and would have some natural affinity with the intention. In my own art practice which involves taking pictures of starters, i carry one or more photo books of my work with my equipment for those tricky moments when people ask what am I doing. the phonebook can be a saving factor in some tricky conversations. sadly there is a developing suspicion about people in the street with a camera!

Morrissey uses self-portraiture in more of her work, namely Seven and The Failed Realist. Look at these projects online and make some notes in your learning log.

I really like the work of Trish Morrissey, in part because she is using the role of the outsider to look in on others worlds and come to some view about this. I had come across her work: Ten People in a Suitcase.

Inspired by an archive of 30,00 images of people and places in the Finnish town on Mantta, Morrissey has remade images of a number of characters in the original images. She has used techniques and styles that captures something about people that would otherwise have been anonymous. as with much of her work she is the subject and this creates a common thread though the work. I find it strangely engaging, slightly humours but above all melancholic, she has captured the passing of time and the work says something about the forgotten and the mundane. individuals lives are important to us all but time marches on and we are then forgotten. This works captures long past moment in time and says something more that n merely a statement about the individual in the image. it talks of the transience of life and the passage of time waiting for no one. She uses colour in particular to create a sense of a particular time.


Copyright Trish Morrissey

In the image above she has remerging a moment from an adult education class about art with the teacher Ritta Ranta being played by her. This moment long past is part of the history of the town, but until this rework was entirely forgotten. The image asks the viewer to imagine Ritta’s life what happened before and after the image and where she is now? In short we are requested with that which we have forgotten.

Seven Years is perhaps a prelude to the next exercise on the course. Morrissey looks at the style and orthodoxy of the family photographs. there are common themes in family picture that transcend time and culture . Morrissey mimics images from her own families album, acting as the creator of a new revised seen, her own websites says that the work:

‘aims to deconstruct the trope of family photography by meticulously mimicking it’

All of the images in the set are well crafted to replicate an event from the past, captured in the photos of the family album. There are well defined and replicated approaches that Morrissey showcases though the work. The viewer has to make some assumptions but the titles guide some of the thinking. Morose plays a role in them all. I was particularly struck by the image below which i think must be her as an infant just born or soon after. She plays the role of her father in this classic style of family image.


Copyright Trish Morrissey

The Failed Realist is a very different piece of work to the other sets I looked at. The title is based upon the work of Psychologist Georges-Henri Luquet. Considering the developmental stages of children, Luquet suggests that the failed realist stage was when a child could not produce art or creative work that met their own expectations . Verbal skills being developed before the fine motor control required to draw and paint. Let many artists would seek to regain some of the un contaminated thugs and ideas of childhood in their own work. reflecting on a creative purity exorcised over time .

In this work Morrissey’s daughter  paints her mother’s face with themes  based upon s films and books she has seen or has had read to her. There is a simple innocence to the work, but it is the photographers own car that is the canvass for her daughters cartoons. Of all of her works I found this the hardest to read . The common themes of the outsiders and the interloper I found less present in this work.


Copyright Trish Morrissey


Trish Morrissey works found at: (accessed October 2016)


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