For her photography and video project Tractatus 7, photographer Denise Prince reveals what is normally hidden and repressed within the human mind. In replicating a catalogue by high-end fashion house Missoni, she replaces heavily retouched models with individuals who have undergone severe physical trauma. Asking us to confront painful experiences that escape comprehension, she breaks through the allure of fantasy and invites us to peer beneath the glamour of fashion and into a reality we rarely allow ourselves to enter. Here, the idyllic beachside of the catalog is revealed to be a mere studio set, and Prince’s subjects are left speechless, forced to reconcile who they believed they were with a newly-emerging self. We spoke to Prince about the project.
When Charlie Engman first photographed his mother, Kathleen, he noticed there was a stark difference between his mother in real life and the woman who appeared in the photographs. “I couldn’t really recognize her in the images, or rather, I recognized her in unfamiliar ways,” he explained in a recent interview. He began photographing her more frequently, and over time his mother has become something of a muse for Engman. It wasn’t until years later, when commissioned for a fashion editorial shoot by Hungarian magazine The Room, that he decided to cast his mother as the model, in a series simply titled, MOM.