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You See Me - Personal Identities in the Digital Age
3rd edition, Visible White Photo & Video Prize 2014

curated by
Paul di Felice and Marinella Paderni

selections by
Jim Casper, Clare Grafik, Hripsime Visser and Bas Vroege


"Which values does artistic portrait photography have today in the digital age of social networks in which everyone can become a ‘do-it-yourself’ portrait photographer?

The technical ease with which new technologies (photo and video HD camcorders, smart phones and webcams) are used to portray oneself and each other in real time, have in a short time has led to an increase of amateur photography in which the constant of the poses, the shots, and behaviour generates an ordered classification of the indistinct and of the undifferentiated which tends to render conventional the representations of identity.

The development of digital photography and video has contributed significantly to the spread of our social self-understanding in which personal identity and self-perception waiver between the scaling-down of one’s own image and the inward looking cult of narcissism, fluctuating in an unstable way between the physical and psychological borders of oneself and the exaltation of one’s own public image.

Not only, this new phenomenon of ‘self-mirroring’ creates the social ease necessary to construct one’s own identity based on the gaze of others, which is not generated through a process of awareness that becomes the anchor for external subjectivity.

Self-awareness in the photographic image does not come from a hip or media vision, but from a meditative approach, a process of reflection and otherness which also takes account of the relationship between the viewer (the photographer), the observed (the subject of the photograph) and the future viewpoint of the public. In art, the photographic portrait has preserved the difference between private and public, between interiority and exteriority, distinctions which fail to hold up in amateur images exhibited in the web and in social networks, where privacy is abolished in favour of one’s fundamental existence and appearance as an image.

The project ‘You See Me. Personal Identities in the Digital Age’ explores new tendencies in contemporary, artistic portrait photography, which is dealing daily with the visual scenarios described above, and the need to differentiate itself from amateur photography and video."

What's Visible White Photo & Video Prize?

The prize was founded in 2012 by Celeste Network and Fondazione Studio Marangoni to support international photographers and video artists who engage, creatively, with what is moving personal, social and political issues today.

Selectors are looking for artwork and projects which:
- deliver new angles of vision and understanding to the chosen theme
- reflect contemporary ways in which images of people, ideas and places are created
- show discipline and personal style
- contain strong reference systems
- use conceptual or descriptive interpretations to shed new light on the chosen theme
- push the boundaries of the media

Past editions