The democratic self-portrait




Giles Revell, Matt Willey, Photofit - Self Portraits, 2007

Photofit: In providing each sitter with the same tools – a 1970s police Photofit kit, the process by which they created their self-portrait was democratized; the immediate, tactile qualities of the kit enabling them to tell their own story as a likeness falls into place, piece by piece.

Penry’s system might have been inaccurate and ideologically
dubious, but it has qualities that appealed to us when we came up with
this project. Photofit is tactile: you can touch the individual parts with
your own hands and move them about until things click into place – it’s
like creating a puzzle. And it is immediate: there is no person standing
between you and the final picture. We managed to track down a male
and female kit from a Police Museum in Kent and invited a number
of people to assemble their own Photofit self-portrait in Giles’ studio
in Clerkenwell. The end result, we think, is curious. Each portrait tells
a story: it speaks of the hang-ups, insecurities and vanities we all have
about our own appearance. They hint at how deceptive our relationship
with our self-image can be. Jacques Penry claimed that he could deduce
a person’s character from their face in an instant. If nothing else, we
hope that this project shows how the connection between persona
and personality is a lot more complex than that.


Source: Giles Revell, Matt Willey's Studio8design
Other: Canadian magazine Walrus