Whether for a selfie or formal portrait, we all craft our appearance and identity for a public audience. We consider cultural and social norms, the emotions we wish to express or hide away, where we’re going and with whom, and the purpose of the photograph when choosing how we dress, adorn, and present ourselves. The resulting images serve as a window into a particular moment of our life, with intimate details that alert viewers to who we are, as filtered through the photographic medium.
Organized by Phoenix Art Museum and the Center for Creative Photography (CCP), Fashioning Self: The Photography of Everyday Expression features 54 works of street, documentary, and self-portrait photography from 1912 to 2015 that explore this long-intertwined relationship between fashion as a tool for self-expression and photography’s role in chronicling it. Iconic views by Dennis Feldman, Laura Volkerding, Linda Rich, John Simmons, David Hume Kennerly, Teenie Harris, and more illuminate the dialogue that occurs between photographer and subject—the give-and-take between self-performance and art making.
Alongside these works drawn from CCP’s outstanding collection, Fashioning Self also features a rotating display of social media images reflecting community members and individuals from across the United States. Throughout the duration of the exhibition, the Museum and CCP will invite visitors, Arizona residents, and our collective social media followings to take their own selfies and portraits in the galleries or in their environments and share them via the hashtag #FashioningSelf for display in Norton Gallery. By placing these contemporary, real-time images in conversation with works by renowned photographers of the Americas, the exhibition interrogates what it means to be an artist or maker in a world where cameras are commonplace and everyone curates a feed.