The Public Profile of an American Girl

The Public Profile of an American Girl

'The Public Profile Of An American Girl' is an attempt to examine the online female persona and identity through found images on Facebook. The series acts as a typology of photographic similarities among young women whose image restrictions are labeled "public" i.e. "free use to the consumer" as dictated in the bylaws of Facebook's Privacy Policy. Imagery is sorted into defined categories: 'The Face', 'Licking My Friend', 'Car Self Portrait' and 'Gang Sign', each collection full of nearly identical poses, expressions, and cultural cliches. Totaling over 2600 individual photographs, the work reveals a certain generation who appear to expose themselves at any cost.

Whether driven by the need for attention, approval or simply a thoughtless mimicry of others, the images en mass produce a world both exploitative and derogatory. Though men can frequently be criticized for the same social media tropes, 'Public Profile' highlights the continual online presentation of the woman as an object, images often imbued with a sexual undercurrent. Intentional or otherwise, the subject is making a statement, declaring herself by what she chooses to reveal and who she chooses to emulate. Each pose, color, clothing and location choice are clues to her intent. Presented with the raw multitude of so many images, the epidemic becomes a disturbing signifier of a larger problem.

The influx of social media has completely altered the way an average person views an image, relegating the photograph to a place of the infinite scroll. Once a physical object used as a memorial declaration of "I WAS", the Instagram generation uses the photograph to declare "I AM". In this new frontier, it is difficult to regard any image in a contextual way, the banal often overwhelming the significant. However, observed differently, these sites can also be seen as a billion - man poll of contemporary society. Thoughtless actions become powerful statements when viewed in a certain light: the image still speaks. In the context of 'The Public Profile of An American Girl', the conclusions are simultaneously uncomfortable and inconclusive. As with every cultural movement a generation is consumed by, we have no clear picture of the ramifications. We cannot understand, we cannot look away and we are not meant to. 

'The Public Profile of an American Girl' is ideally to be exhibited as a massive installation of each category, overwhelming the viewer and forcing them to examine these images longer than they would on a screen. The installation can be adjusted and adapted to a variety of spaces. Images are printed at 5x5" color photographs mounted in a grid.
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