Model Stacey McKenzie from IPSEITY. Photo: Brendan Meadows

Ipseity, the duality of self, reflected through images

The duality of Brendan Meadows’ images is undeniable but we first see the familiar artful lines and darkroom techniques found in the work of two important figures in American fashion photography, Harper’s Bazaar’s illustrator-turned-fashion-photographer Lillian Bassman and Berlin-born, Jewish photographer Erwin Blumenfield, whose portraits of American movie stars, society ladies, iconic Vogue covergirls dominated the culture from the 1940s to the 60s. [see photos from the IPSEITY exhibition]

Model Stacey McKenzie. Photo: Brendan Meadows

In Blumenfield’s biography Eye to I he outlines his beliefs about duality. He said, “I remain convinced that there is a life in another world going on behind the transparent glass. We are doubles. Without the mirror, I would never have become a human being,” (BBC).

Musician Leon Bridges. Photo: Brendan Meadows
Musician Leon Bridges. Photo: Brendan Meadows

Like Blumenfield, Meadows sees the need for reflection but doesn’t quite go into Blumenfield territory to describe his work as “psychological portraiture.” Instead, Meadows says, “Sometimes, who we’re being speaks much more loudly than who we are.” 

Natalie. Photo: Brendan Meadows
Natalie. Photo: Brendan Meadows

“The nature of our identity can be objectively represented by the various ‘selves’ we choose to proclaim, whether consciously or not,” states Meadows. “I am aiming to bring this to life through IPSEITY.

On the outside, the people in his portraits appear to be full of conviction, bold and self-assured. Their faces imbued with character, or their bodies adorned with symbols that give us clues as to who they want us to believe they are. With his camera, Meadows tries to expose the internal self beneath the surface that we may not easily see in his subjects as they go about their daily lives. 

Did you get to see the show? See more images from IPSEITY here.

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