Class of 2014: the subconscious mind and performance art inspire Laura Kale's self-portraits
“The Hour Between is about the frustrations of not being able to access the full creative potential of your subconscious mind,” says 22-year-old Laura Kale, who has just completed a BA in photography at the University for the Creative Arts, Rochester. “It’s a bit like that feeling when you have the most bizarre dream, but it vanishes from your memory when you wake up, and you cannot relax your mind enough to reclaim what you saw.
“The project is about a figure who takes on a new state, which is not quite human but not quite ‘other’, as she interacts with her surroundings. She is breaking free of inner frustrations and, with that, taking on a new form.” Kale’s aim, she explains, is to suggest something manifesting before the viewer’s eyes – “although you never quite know what you are looking at”.
The figure in each image is Kale herself. “The angles of the body and gestures came about through reading about performance artists while researching my dissertation, and Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis,” she explains. “Both gave me an awareness of my space and how enclosed I felt, which in turn led to my body reacting in ways that either accepted this confinement or rebelled against it. These gestures were impulsive, and in the seconds I had to get into position I let these impulses take over.”
Shooting at night, Kale used a burst of flash to light each scene. It was “a sort of shock method, to jolt myself with a sudden blinding light and catch me out of the blue”, she explains. “The pockets of light expose moments of change through the series. I wanted to create something that set the viewer on edge.”
She chose ordinary locations and props, such as flowers in a vase in the edge of the frame, a washing line, or a floral-pattern fabric. For her, they represent notions of conformity and routine which “we all fall into at some point and try to break out of”.
“The locations relate to this idea of suburban living,” she says. “But I was careful not to go down the classic cinematic representation of suburbia, which I feel has been approached so many times before in photography.”
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