All of my work has been self-portraits for the past 18 years.
The backbone of my work is a series I have been carrying out since 1998, which became a daily activity for me in 2000: I´ve gone to a photo booth and taken a passport photo every day for the past 16 years. It is titled “miss fotojapón”. It all started with a written diary, and the fact that there was a photo studio that made passport photos near my house in Bogotá, Colombia.
I was around 17 at the time, and had just started experimenting with my appearance with different piercings and hairstyles; I thought it would be nice to have some documentation of these experiments for the future. As a way of accompanying my written diary with images, I began to sporadically visit the photo booth around 1995. The more I physically changed, the more I wanted to take pictures; and the more pictures I took, the more I instigated these changes. This cycle eventually resulted in me taking a photograph on a daily basis beginning in June 2000. Running parallel to this ritual/obsession/routine throughout all these years, I have also been working on a variety of photographic series in which I photograph myself portraying others.
I am a collector, and enjoy collecting all sorts of things. With time, my work has grown to be a collection itself—a collection of characters I´ve created by altering my image. Playing with my own appearance and becoming anything and anyone I want has become my way of reflecting how I view the world. I am very interested in how people construct their “selves.” At the end of the day, “if we are all unique we usually try to project this uniqueness in the way we present ourselves to the world.”
I envision myself as a medium to let “others” exist, and for more than a decade I have been fantasizing about being “anything” but myself. I really enjoy stereotypes and how they become so identifiable, and also functional. Many tend to think they know what to expect from a person who is dressed a certain way. It is like a label/stigma.
Apart from working on photography, I have also worked on a series of videos that started in a domestic context around 1999, when I filmed one-take home·music·videos of myself lip-synching and sometimes singing to different songs. With time, these videos evolved into something that took place wherever I went in the world; I made a music video that worked as a “video-postcard” of each place. This series is titled “around the world in 80 gays” and the locations are must-see places people should visit if they travel somewhere (e.g. Paris: Eiffel Tower, Louvre etc.….) where they would almost instinctively take a picture to take home as a souvenir that gives proof that they were there.
Throughout both my photography and video work, I like to refer to the fantasies that surround “being”, stretching the idea of the “self” and creating a universe in which I am the common denominator of a series of beings that have been brought to life as a consequence of an exposure to icons, music, fashion, advertising, TV, films and all the things we encounter on a daily basis.