Who do you want to be? Or, more accurately, who could you have been? Czech photographer Dita Pepe takes these musings quite literally, re-imaging her life in a hundred different scenarios in her series Self Portraits with Men. Pepe’s photographs are disarming in their nonchalant subtly, the artist possessing an uncanny ability to become a seamless member of each family.
Initially posing with men she knew, Pepe eventually began approaching strangers as potential partners, sometimes including her own daughter in the mix. The portraits manage to transcend age, class and culture. Despite the often immediately recognizable archetypes present, Pepe inhabits each one fully. As single photographs, you cannot spot the stranger.
Though obviously comparable to the work of Cindy Sherman, Pepe’s chameleon talents focus more on how relationships can utterly transform an individual than embodying specific female identities. Questions of origin, influence and choice all come into play, the “what-if” manifesting in a sometimes comical, sometimes surreal interpretation of different paths we all could have taken.
All images © Dita Pepe