Because I do not believe who we are can be defined by our photographic likeness, my work pushes the boundaries of portraiture in the West to reveal stories that lie deep below the surface. These are stories that are as visceral as they are visual because what we feel is much more powerful than what we see.
To accomplish this, like a cultural anthropologist, I sift through the ordinary elements of our life--- from our habits, to how we spend our time or our money, to how we live, dress, organize ourselves or our belongings and how we communicate both in words and actions. My work involves questioning cultural assumptions and examining artifacts to discover the story of who we really are at our essence.
Clearly these are no ordinary portraits. If pressed, I prefer to be called a conceptual artist. This is because the idea comes first and then its form---the result might be a painting or a performance, a sculpture or a video, a poem or a short story. Key to my artistic process is embedding myself in my subject's environment and looking outside from within. My "portraits" are: individuals, buildings, organizations or entire societies.
For this website this work is divided into six categories. Click on any of the squares to see the full collection, however, these are only a limited set of examples of my work. For more information, please contact: elise.talent@gmail. com