Reflection and Photography: Materialising My[visual]self

Orcutt, Elizabeth ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0009-0009-1781-4549 (2022) Reflection and Photography: Materialising My[visual]self. Doctoral thesis, Falmouth University / University of the Arts London.

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Abstract / Summary

Using a visual methodology, in a contribution to the field of British feminist
photography, this is the critical account of a practice-based exploration of my
experience of self. My contribution is my work as a feminist fitting-room; the
term capturing both my method and my research space. The latter is the
territory surrounding me which embraces my internal experience: it is the space
where I materialised my visual self. This is in line with new materialist thinking,
which advocates the affective nature of matter and the entanglement of subject
and object (Barad 2007, Braidotti 2012, Dolphijn & Tuin 2012), my
methodology demonstrates that my fitting-room was active in my inquiry.
Relying on making and associated visual arts practice activities, my work was a
practical inquiry or techne, (Coessens et al. 2009) with my look vital to the
process. The quality of my scrutiny was characterised by ‘peering’. My look
was intense as I repeatedly searched for myself in pictures, and this evaluative
looking also suggested my fitting-room as I tried out and tried on each iteration
of practice. In an act of unintended feminist resistance, my likeness gradually
disappeared from the images, as I understood my experience of visual self
could not be realised using photographic, mirror-like images. Thus,
paradoxically, my likeness dematerialised from the self-portrayals while
empowering me as a female artist. Ultimately, what to an outsider may appear
to represent my visual absence, offered me resolution; I gained a great sense

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of comfort and agency as a female subject separated from any physical objectlike existence.
Because the research is rooted in the personal, the works and methodology
become mechanisms for thinking about entanglement with ‘other’. Arts
experience resonates through the practice and its outcomes, highlighting
intersubjective nature of experiences of self. Experiences of visual self occurring
on the personal plane will resonate with audience and collaborators.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: Fashion & Textiles
Courses by Department: The Fashion & Textiles Institute > Fashion Photography
Depositing User: Ailsa Poll
Date Deposited: 09 Jan 2024 14:15
Last Modified: 09 Jan 2024 14:15
URI: https://repository.falmouth.ac.uk/id/eprint/5362

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