These images were created from scanning and manipulating two or more negatives in Adobe Photoshop. Using the computer as a tool to create a “believable” situation is not that different from accepting any photograph as an object of truth, or by creating a story about two people seen laughing, making-out, or quarreling in a restaurant. These photographs reconstruct the private relationships that I have experienced personally, witnessed in public, or watched on television. The events portrayed in these photographs look believable, yet have never occurred. By digitally creating a photograph that is a composite of multiple negatives of the same model in one setting, the self is exposed as not a solidified being in reality, but as a representation of social and interior investigations that happen within the mind.
This work represents an autobiographical questioning of sexuality and gender roles that shape the identity of the self in intimate relationships. Polarities of identity such as the masculine and feminine psyche, the irrational and rational self, the exterior and interior self, the motivated and resigned self are portrayed. By combining multiple photographic negatives of the same model in each image, the dualities of the self are defined by body language and clothing worn. This work is an honest representation of the duality or multiplicity of the self in regards to decisions about intimate relationships, family, belief systems and lifestyle options.
The importance of these images lies in the representation of interior dilemmas portrayed as an external object – a photograph. Through these images the audience is presented with “constructed realities”. I am interested in not only what the subject matter says about myself, but also what the viewers response to these images says about their own identities and social constructs.
Kelli Connell received an MFA from Texas Woman’s University (2003). Her body of work entitled “Double Life” has been widely received and included in numerous national solo and group exhibitions. Her work is in the collections of Microsoft; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Columbus Museum of Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Museum of Contemporary Photography; and The Dallas Museum of Art. Recent publications include “MP3: Midwest Photographers’ Publication Project” co-published by Aperture and The Museum of Contemporary Photography, “Vitamin Ph: New Perspectives in Photography” by Phaidon and “Photo Art: The New World of Photography” by Aperture. Connell teaches at Columbia College Chicago. website | edelmangallery.com | kopeikingallery.com