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Documentary Photos and Selfies

This is a 20 year documentary photography series of humans, selfies, surrealism and others. I owned a Canon Rebel Film Camera (2003-2007), then a Canon Rebel Digital Camera (2004 – 2010), then a Canon 7D Camera (2010-2017) and now a Canon 77D (2017 – Present).

 
Social Media Selfies

Karen Lembke has gotten me interested in thinking about early Social Media.

I was interviewed in early 2017 by Lembke, someone who was an internet friend of sorts back in the day, about my experience using Makeoutclub. She showed me a screen grab from Page 6 of www.archive.org. She was trying to paint a picture of that early form of social media through people she used to talk to on the internet. Her broader scope was not to find me, but to find another guy she used to communicate with from MOC through me.

The text and picture boxes were the first of many social networking websites that I would become acquainted with on the internet. It was 2001. I was on Page 6 of ‘boys’. It was a major social taboo to have your picture on such a website, especially in high school, in the early 2000s. This monumental moment of submitting a webcam photo I had taken and having it displayed for all the internet world to see, completely changed my life and the years to come.

I discovered the power of having my profile on such a website. It was a relatively fast awareness. The attention I got made me very infamous in high school, and well-liked on the internet.

The focus on both fronts was a compelling enough reason to continue doing it. There was an eminence about it that I relished. I was still in high school and it was the first time I have ever felt like I was the center of attention. People would talk about me behind my back. Ex-friends would go out of their way to tell people that not only was I on an emo website, but go further to print and distribute it to others while commenting on my sexuality.

I mean, it was not one or two people, it was a clique of 20 or 30 teenagers who told the entire school about my gay self and my gay profile!

I felt honored. For the first time I was not overlooked. People wouldn’t ignore me at parties or think I was a bore whose foolish kindness was masked in social awkwardness. I wasn’t kind; I wanted to be the center of attention all the time. I did not want to be the quiet and moralizing bore who who stops his teenage friends from having a fun time of throwing bleach onto strangers’ front lawns, as one of my ex-friends described his character named after me for his creative writing assignment.

I became popular in high school. I was invited to a lot of parties, made new friends and watched pornography in a packed hummer limo with my new friends and had the high school prom party at my parents’ house. I fell asleep on the floor while watching the music video to Missy Elliott’s Get Ur Freak On. Everyone else was either asleep like me or skinny dipping in the hot tub outside. I actually went to another prom the very next day in the same black eyeliner, pomade in my bleached hair and purple tie with a girl I met on Makeoutclub.

I discovered what I perceived to be myself through the internet. This has changed a countless number of times over the years. I felt like a contortionist and have always had a picture of myself posted somewhere on a social networking website or a blog to prove this. These pictures have constantly broadcasted my identity to show who or what I have become. Over the past ten years, my social networking and blog pictures have piled up into a myriad of sprawls, facial expressions, different hairstyles and clothing to demonstrate the changes in my identity and these pictures tell that story.

Please see Christop for more boyish pictures from ages 20 to 24.

Chris Girard Selfie Chris Girard Selfie Chris Girard Selfie Chris Girard Selfie

Chris Girard Selfie Chris Girard Selfie Chris Girard Selfie Chris Girard Selfie

Chris Girard Selfie Chris Girard Selfie Chris Girard Selfie Chris Girard Selfie

Chris Girard Selfie Chris Girard Selfie Chris Girard Selfie Chris Girard Selfie

Chris Girard Selfie Chris Girard Selfie Chris Girard Selfie Chris Girard Selfie

 

Other Humans

I met a lot of people through social networking. I personally don’t know where many people went since I first met them! I don’t know if I run into many of these people whom I talked to long ago, or if they run into me…

Christian as Elsa, 2015 Dolores Park Swings, 2004 Moon, 2005 Tree, 2005

Ayme Callahan, 2003 Jeffree Star, 2004 Brian Manford, 2010 Your Name Here, 2009

Frank Manley, 2004 Perseus Rhodes, 2012 Ariel Rosenstein, 2005 Blackout, 2004

Mrs. Alex Hall, 2012 Helen Marnie of Ladytron, 2006 Chris Rouse, Seven Generations, 2006 The Voyeur, 2004

Atomic Bomb, 2005 The On-Campus Party, 2008 Girard & Wife, 2005 Hat Lady, Puerto Rico, 2004

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Detournement of Street Signs – Law Series

Detournement of Street Signs by Chris Girard

Law Series is a type of photo detournement. It constitutes repurposed photographs of street signs that are either cropped from their original state or framed. The change in composition alters the rules and regulations to produce other rules and regulations.

Detournement, Laws of Movement & Expression

When I was 21 years old taking art photography classes, I was interested in exhibitionism and the performance that one acts when on camera. I looked at constructs of intimacy and the clashes that it creates. I believe regulation creates the boundaries of intimacy and a change in the rules changes how one behaves. In a way, isolation forms the placement of these regulatory mechanisms. Expression isolates or ‘interiorizes’ and even alienates from these mechanisms. Outdoor NO signs clearly show these mechanisms. I lived near hundreds of these signs growing up in Orange County, California.

Photo Detournement by Chris Girard

The four scenes in each of the photo collages evolve a story by a reader who searches for correlations and patterns in scattered and ephemeral environments. California housing associations estrange these landscapes and gated communities by heavily regulating them.

External Regulation & Internal Expression?

Laguna Niguel is an inland town that borders the beach town of Laguna Beach in Orange County. I noticed when visiting my parents how many NO signs there are. Niguel Summit, which is the housing association my parents lived in the 1990s and 2000s, offers at least one NO sign for every 15 feet.

I decided to photograph all of these NO signs within a one mile perimeter from my parents’ home. It’s funny and absurd in a way to have a No Parking sign followed by a No Trespassing sign followed by a No Parking sign. This is something you wouldn’t see in most other places. Other places where I subsequently lived, like San Francisco, London or Los Angeles, do not do this.

I believe this has to do with is Laguna Niguel being a collection of privately-owned housing associations rather than a town. This phenomenon of private housing associations seems to define upper middle class living at the cusp of the 20th and 21st Centuries. These McMansions that look alike are also located next to shopping centers with the same stores. I wanted to explore how identities form and become alienated in these regulated private communities. So I made a detournement.

Photo Detournement by Chris Girard

Glass, mirrors, fog, blur and shadows symbolize intimacy. These selfies are taken indoors and reflected on glass and mirrors taken on different beds.