About the work
In the manner of the German photographer August Sander, I sought out and photographed a range of South African vocational archetypes: the builder, the mechanic, the petrol attendant, the nurse, the airline steward, the suburban security guard.
Complicating these unceremonious portraits I inserted myself into every frame, inhabiting – quite literally – the dress (clothes, shoes, jewellery, spectacles) of my subjects, who in turn wore my clothes and took my picture.
The process involved taking a portrait of the sitter and then inverting the roles by changing clothes with the sitter and he/ she would take the portait of me performing their role. In doing so I was attempting to challenge the signs of identity construction through photography, as well as, interrogating the intense yet fleeting relationship between sitter and photographer.
Exhibitions and exposure
In 2006 the work was awarded a distinction as a masters of fine art submission at Rhodes University.
The show travelled South Africa and was shown as a solo show at the Market Photography Workshop, Johannesburg as well as the Bell Roberts Gallery, Cape Town.
Maureen De Jager, Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at Rhodes Universtiy, has written and presented a seminar paper entitled The Cameras Lies: Role-Playing, Posing and imposture in the Self Portrait Photography of Monique Pelser and Samuel Fosso.
Maureen De Jager; Art Historical Conference; The Camera’s Lies: Role-Playing, Posing and Imposture in the Self Portrait Photography of Monique Pelser and Samuel Fosso; September 2007 Download PDF = 96KB