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Alix Smith

Page 1 | Biography

Constructed Identities
This body of work explores the concept of constructed identities and to what extent society determines how people will live their lives. as we become active members of our community we become entangled in social roles, obligations and limits. As one concedes small personal desires in order to appease one’s social group, one begins to feel boxed in, conformity perpetuates itself and as time goes by one accepts ones life regardless of the original intention.

Historically, traditional portraiture’s function was to illustrate the subject’s wealth, class, status, and profession. I am using formal portraiture, and the cinemagraphic genre in order to subvert their meanings. Mimicking the classic portrait, my subjects sit up straight, their hands rest together, and legs or ankles are crossed.

Through camera angle, lighting and framing, the background begins to seem like a stage or movie set. The subjects are positioned in the foreground in order to separate them from their surroundings. Placing the viewer outside of the space. Thus the subjects function like objects in a still life, in a beautifully designed interior.

Constructed Identities 11
Constructed Identities 11
Through Imitation 1
Through Imitation 1
Through Imitation 8
Through Imitation 8
Through Imitation
My project explores the concept of identity and gender as the product of cultural and social influences. Throughout our lives we take on traits and imitate those whom we identify with regardless of gender. These traits and influences are internalized and consequently performed, through the characters of “Truly Fabu” and “Ingenue.”

My subjects are drag queens who call upon their background to formulate their created identities. Their transformation liberates them allowing them to transcend limits of gender, creating an alternate reality.

I photographed two drag queens who had grown up in middle/upper class households. Separated from the judgment of the outside world, I photographed them in the apartment in which one of them grew up. Employing the costumes and poses of the upper class, they take on the cultural stereotypes of the world in which they grew up. They present exaggerated versions of their society creating an alternate reality.

At first glance the images look like photographs one might see in Town & Country magazine, however, as one looks more closely, one observes the breakdown of conventional notions of reality, where gender is flipped and inconsequencal.

Deluze’s asserts that if the truth of the image is not visible, then no independent perspective can be established in order to make distinctions between real and unreal. Therefore, the object is only a “simulated resemblance” of the original, and has its own unique meaning.
Through Imitation 4
Through Imitation 4
Through their imitation we are able to observe the artificiality, not of their performance, but of the performance of the stereotype they are imitating. The gender of the actor does not constitute originality. The performance of a drag queen’s character is closer to the truth, then what society deems as the original, because they are consciously aware of their character.
Alix Smith
New York, NY
New York
North America

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