In my new conceptual series is entitled Downside Up, I literally turn photography on its head because they were all shot while I was suspended upside down.
The idea came to me looking at my Instagram feed. Occasionally I would see an upturned selfie and would feel compelled to turn my phone around to view it in the right orientation, even though none were worth the effort.
They recalled the vague memory of once hearing about the inverted portraits of the painter Georg Baselitz who, instead of just painting the his subjects the right way up and then invert the canvas, he would instead actually paint them inverted.
The concept I came up with was that I would take the pictures while suspended upside down and display them just like I saw them through my viewfinder. Unlike the pictures in my Instagram feed though, there would be a pay off when turning them around. I decided to use the Thatcher Illusion. Again something I vaguely remembered from a TV programme I saw at the turn of the century. It was first reported by the psychologist Peter Thompson of York University in 1980, and for an example he chose a picture of the Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. He discovered that because of the way humans read faces, we could not readily tell whether the mouth and eyes were inverted in an upside down portrait.
Because of the rush of blood to the head, the fatigue as well as the disorientation, I would first check the exposure and the lighting before being suspended. The pictures now carry a grotesque secret image of the people in them. An interior life. One way up is Dr Jekyll and the other Mr Hyde. Our interaction with them also depends on the medium we view them on. On a smart phone or a printed page we can easily turn them around but on a monitor or on a wall we have to orientate our bodies to reveal their alternative image. [Official Website]
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