Suellen Symons: Displacement
Head On Photo Festival 06 - 28 May 2017
We are the original displaced personalities. We are a breed apart, us theatre people. Daniel Schacter, 2011
Displacement, a new solo exhibition by surrealist photographer Suellen Symons, investigates contemporary displacement through Australia’s multicultural obsession with Cosplay and Medieval alter-egos.
Each subject is committed to the spirit of being a displaced person (warrior, knight, queen) and enjoys the transformation into another time and place. They have fashioned their own destinies as havens for the imagination.
In Freudian psychology, displacement (German: Verschiebung, "shift, move") is an unconscious defence mechanism whereby the mind substitutes either a new aim or a new object for goals felt in their original form to be dangerous or unacceptable.
Symons’ exhibition radiates with the power of the ideal self, the confidence of actors on stage: courageous knights or beautiful princesses, extraordinary civilians who dip in and out of a creative parallel universe.
Her pictures acknowledge the alter-ego of the subject as well as the discordant background of modern life – blending the everyday with the imagined.
I aimed to capture a moment of intensity, revealing vulnerability and sense of belonging, says Symons. I tried to heighten the formality of the portrait-making situation, which may emphasize awkwardness but mostly shows each person proud of what they have accomplished.
A life-long photography learner with many years of experience, Suellen’s goal is to create fantastic photography that reaches across art, fashion, and the senses. She wants to inspire and be inspired.
Suellen has worked with portraiture, corporate photography, advertising and fashion, as well as fronting solo and group exhibitions. Her artwork involves people, landscapes, and fashion with a twist.
This exhibition of the Displacement Series along with a selection of Symons’ popular earlier photographic series is presented in association with Head On Photo Festival 2017.
Suellen Symons is represented many local and international public & private collections including: The National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, ACT; The International Polaroid Collection, WestLicht Museum of Photography, Wien, Austria; The Graham Nash Collection, Los Angeles, USA; The Belgiorna Nettis Collection, Sydney, Australia; University of NSW (COFA) Collection, Australia; La Bibliotheque Nationale de France; SPADEM Collection, Paris, France; Trinity Grammar School, Sydney, Australia.
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