Paul Sepuya

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Artist Statement

This project begins with the site of my studio and the community of homoerotic photography, it’s shared subjects and recurring tropes. The pictures are composed of figures (intimates), of grounds (the recurring space of the studio), and of self-referential studies (haptic re-workings of these materials on mirror surface). The project is deeply committed to portraiture at its heart.

There are two compositional strategies happening across the project: the “straight” photograph of a sitter or scene, and photographs of prints collaged on the surfaces of mirrors. There are moments in which they overlap, in the case of the mirrors appearing within the straight photographs but are not the “ground” on which the composition is structured. These are not digitally manipulated photographs.

My own presence is mediated through a self-conscious play of presentation and concealing, exploring surface and reflection in the conventions of body and drapery, the lens and mirror, touch and trace. here is a tension between my impulse and formal concerns. At times I inhabit the obscuring fabric, the cheapest trick of the photographer’ studio, and at others my stand-in is a glimpse of the camera or tripod in reflection. My hands touch, manipulate and adjust. I move from in front of the camera to behind it and reflected in the mirror.