Millee Tibbs

[From the Series: This is a picture of me.]

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"Millee swinging on a vine at Joe Wheeler State Park 7-30-78, 2007", 2007

Digital Ink Jet Prints, 11" x 14"

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"This is a picture of me" uses self-portraiture to investigate our relationship to mediated images, specifically those of women, while examining the relationship between photographer and subject, and attempting to locate the self in an image. This series both evokes the impossibility of going back to childhood and questions the desire to do so. The reenactment of these gestures by an adult body transforms the seemingly innocuous childhood poses into suggestive and sexualized performances, which emphasize the unconscious influence of mediated images in vernacular photography.

The impetus to place myself in center stage as the work’s subject was not born of narcissism, but of the desire to investigate certain taboos about the body and sexuality. This project came about during a time of intense change. In the period of two years, I received an MFA degree, got married and turned thirty. I am decidedly not a child anymore. Perhaps this shift in self-awareness is at the heart of my incentive to create this work. I think there is something both beautiful and tragic about what is both gained and lost throughout our development. I like to think that all those experiences that form who we are (who I am) are present in the space between the two images.

However, this project did not emerge from simple nostalgia either. There are more complex issues that I hope are touched upon in its creation. Ideas surrounding sexuality, the body, and childhood are tender topics of discussion- or more frighteningly, non-discussion. If nothing else, I hope that this work will instigate debate about how we define ourselves through the use of the camera and its role in our representation.

Artworks by Millee Tibbs

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