02 September 2007

ID igital

Digital (self)portraits from Sandra's ' friends' chat page.

Each person makes a choice on how he or she wants to be shown to the world.

After being encouraged to join one of the popular chat sites I discovered that my chosen (self) portrait for my ID tag was a rather standard pose in this fifth dimension digital world. Soon I landed at Sandra's page and her
' friends'. There were many things related to her young, city, middle class life and some other signs are better described as global. Among the photos of her friends there were some very inspiring and many caused me a lot of surprise. The biggest impression to me was the "I want to belong" signs. Why would any one show a group photo when placing an image of them? By the number of group photo’s I noticed that this was common use. On the other side, showing a photo of yourself with your partner gives a clear sign of possession. There was plenty of theatre too: I believe some were so sure or unsure of themselves and, I feel confident to say, they were just playing the opposite.
After selecting them on male or female, on single or group, sunglasses or guitar in hands, I began knowing more about them. There was plenty of information on each photo but it was visible only after observing them within the group. For me, someone who grew up in Mexico City and went to a school where uniforms were compulsory there were many recognizable images. On the other hand the times are different so there are also plenty of expressions that I see as a total outsider. What is the visual experience for someone who had never been there? And for someone who had? These portraits bring a lot of questions that I am not answering, I am just an observant.
The boys and girls are in the extended friends circle as the groups are endless, but it is more or less naturally restricted to those that were in the same age group and living in Mexico City. I left out photographs as brands, comic characters, puppies, Hollywood stars and other irrelevant examples for me (at least now). I made my own mix of digital photographs, the result tells a lot about this specific youth segment but also about me.
I selected about 1500 photo’s, from those that were available in August 2007. The center of this project is Sandra, female, 16 years old and resident of Mexico City. She is not portrayed in the book. Sandra had 178
' friends' and each one of them had in average about the same number of friends. The relation girl/boy is about 5/1. My originally sent self portrait photograph is in one of the photos. Every one is how they wished to be seen.

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