Where am I Now? / by Lasma Poisa

With a practice based in documentary, portraiture and performance, my current work focuses on strangers and the relationship between the photographer and sitter. I am interested in the balance of power between photographer and sitter, and how this relates to the depiction of someone’s identity. Furthermore, I am interested in the photographer’s intention behind taking the portrait and the participant’s intention for sitting.

As part of the project development during the previous module I posted an advertisement on a Facebook group set up for cat owners in my local area, offering free portraits with their pets. My aim was not to make work about cats per se, rather the animal fulfilled an important role as a strategy to gain access into strangers’ homes and possibly learn more about the people who had little more in common than owning a cat. I photographed cat owners at seventeen separate locations and each portrait I took was a negotiation and a collaboration with my sitter.

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Even though I created some interesting images, I feel that this work inevitably became about cats, not so much about the strangers. I was hoping to comment on cats as the great distraction that is taking over the internet and detracting from the issues that actually matter, yet it did not translate through my images. I also wanted to make serious work that had weight and edge and even though my work holds the potential of being both, having cats in my images would always be misread as something quite cute.

To develop my practice further I have decided to move away from the cats and focus on a different group of strangers. I am interested in millennials as they are the damned generation. Labeled as useless narcissists, they hold difficult futures ahead of them. I am particularly interested in the Momentum movement and the young people that support Jeremy Corbyn, coming together in a movement which is about a community and looking after one another.