Clothing is important in my photographs. I know some artists believe clothing is a distraction; instead they use their own nude body as a kind of ‘blank canvas’, devoid of the trappings of personality that clothing can give.
For me, I’m exploring personality as part of the self and deny this aspect of the self is to say that one is devoid of personality which is clearly not the case.
“If the body with its open orifices is itself dangerously ambiguous, then dress, which is an extension of the body yet not quite part of it, not only links the body to the social world, but also more clearly separates the two. Dress is the frontier between the self and the not-self” – Elizabeth Wilson Adorned in Dreams: Fashion and Modernity
I have never felt that the nude should be present in my works since I think this would place an undue emphasis in my work on the importance of the body. From Hume I have learned that the Self is an abstract of the mind, in flux, and not a biological entity.
As my current series of work is progressing, even the outline of the human body is devolving…
In using clothes one could be mistaken in thinking I am making a statement on fashion. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The visual aesthetic is undoubtedly there but the characters of my Self use clothing that is more akin to a uniform. In fact I regularly use this uniformity to identify a particular series of work. I am enhancing my individuality through the use of such a uniform. I am creating a brand; a model, that the clothing I wear instantly seeks to promote. Welcome to Melanie Ezra’s mind…
The clothes I wear are deliberately chosen to emphasise the ideas I have of my photographs existing independently of time. I try to work in a way that means the photograph is no longer a “defence against the passage of time” as Bazin described, but is an all encompassing embrace of a series of moments and recollections.
The collection of clothing used in my works are chosen precisely for the function that they are difficult to place chronologically. They are deliberately ambiguous in style. There is a limited evolution at play. It is not that they are anti-fashion or anti-cult but they subscribe to a particular undefinable style that is timeless.
Wilson suggests clothes explore “the ambiguity of our identity, of the relation of self to body and self to the world”. For me the hats, coats, and skirts are all identifiers of the Self at play. They bind the continual flux of the Self into one recognisable whole. Clothing from a non-time exists at a non-location. It is a place between places; a place of flux, existent during my lifetime at least, if not before.