Asa Johannesson, a photographer interested in the way portraits have been used throughout history, took on the challenge of making new identities and breaking down those that already exist. Interested in gender and self-image, she began researching how portraits had been used throughout history, specifically through the 1880’s. In her first project, Portraits of Her, Asa imitated the classic ‘Wanted’ photos, objectifying women through deadpan, head on and profile photos. We scrutinize these photos, and by inspecting them thoroughly she hoped they would lure us into her quizzical state of mind. During her ensuing development, Asa explored how much of our femininity and masculinity we can decide ourselves. She asked, “When you’re a child, how much space do you actually get to create your own gender?” In her project, “Is this you?” Asa posted a photograph of herself looking for a reply from individuals who believed they had similar features. This interaction exposed her to an unknown audience, filling the distance she once felt between her viewers.
In Asa’s latest project “Belonging”, her energy was intensified by natural landscapes of Scandinavia. She understood identities to be more welcomed in the forest. Through this harmony of branches creaking and wind whistling, this still and quite habitat that accepts even trolls made her question, who are we? And when we look at ourselves, what are we looking at?
In the spirit of focusing on the way we recognize others, and ourselves, most everyone rode the London eye this evening. Sarah described her new experience, “we saw London in a different way. Changing our viewpoint changed my perception of the city.”