My work in this series is concerned with the modern surveillance state and its implications on what is personal and what is private. I am also interested in how our real selves differ from our surveilled selves. Through creating this series of photographs, I’ve come to feel that this most nefarious part of surveillance is the fact that when someone is being surveilled, whether they are aware of the observation or not, they are distilled into something that can be categorized, simply a set of data. Data isn’t something that carries any weight or emotion. It's just a set of facts meant to be analysed and used to market things to us. You lose a vital part of yourself when you’re transferred into data and stripped of your humanity in order to be entered into a database. Nothing that you have is your own. Everything is taken from you and distorted. In my work, I chose to focus on the way that one is distorted and blurred by surveillance.
Half of the photographs in my collection were taken with a camera obscura. A camera obscura is a dark room with a small lense that projects whatever is outside of the room onto the inside. Through surveillance, you as a person are turned into a warped and distorted version of yourself. The person that is viewing you is seeing a version of yourself that doesn’t exist outside of their observation.
The other photos in my collection are taken from my family archives. By taking photographs that are supposed to be private and personal and stripping them of their context, I am ridding them of the emotions and memories that are associated with them. I have an image of my sonogram that is repeated multiple times in the series. I chose to include that image because it is one of the first images of me, and one of the first acts of surveillance in my life. Throughout the series, the sonogram becomes more and more abstracted and distorted. I also included images of the frames of photos with the pictures cut out. This is a reclamation of my information; however, in the context of the other photos, I have already shared my data so my reclamation does nothing to actually take back what I have already freely given.
In producing this work, I looked at outside sources for influence. One of my major influences is Hito Steyerl because of her fascination with technology and distortion. Additionally, some of my work that I didn’t include in my final collection was focused on pixels, poor images, and digital imagery. I was also influenced by Sophie Calle’s Suite Venitienne series because of its focus on a stalker-ish surveillance of people. In many of her photographs, the figure is turned away from the camera or in motion or retreating away from the photographer.