First Person # 1 ACPA Exhibition Space / by Judith van IJken

First Person #1 Judith van IJken

First Person #1 is an exhibition of two photographic projects by Judith van IJken, photographer, lecturer and PhD candidate at ACPA, Leiden University. The two projects, the finalized project Anamorphosis and the work in progress Les Clichés sont conservés, offer insight into Van IJken’s practice. Images and texts documenting the research process are displayed on two tables. They do not only show how the projects have developed but also, for instance, what was said during a photographic session.

Photographic portraits are central in Van IJken’s practice. However, it is not the photographic portrait as end result but rather the entire process of ‘making of a photographic portrait’ that is important, as well as the role of the photographer, sitter and camera.

Anamorphosis, a photographic research project about the ‘princess phenomenon’. Little girls were invited to come to Van IJken’s studio and imitate coloring pages of Disney princesses characters while wearing ‘princess dresses’. By re-photographing her own photographs, resulting in a series of close-ups, Van IJken is addressing her responsibility as maker, viewer, and parent. Ultimately she is raising the question: who is turning little girls into images?

Les Clichés sont conservés, work in progress Inspired by contemporary portrait culture, this project focuses on the question what it is like to be confronted with your own photographic image. Van IJken invites people to come to her studio, make photographic portraits together and create a visual response to the outcome.

Artistic Research Van IJken’s research at ACPA, titled First Person, is a social, cultural and artistic analysis of the situation of the making a photographic portrait. Photographic portraits have become omnipresent: they inhabit our private realm, public life and, due to social media, the space in between. Photographic portraits relate to ideas of individual identity. They intend to capture, reject or define our identity or even act as avatars in online situations. Van IJken’s research First Person looks at contemporary individual identity through the prism of making a photographic portrait. It creates insights in the construction of photographic portraits and, more importantly, contributes to understanding of contemporary individual identity.