This series came to life when I spent a few days shopping for lighting in our new apartment. I wanted something with character and history, something antique. As I found great lamps, I also found great old lampshades. They looked like hats from times gone by and the the idea of creating a series of portraits with these silly lampshades was born. What started as a comical and light hearted idea, became much more to me. It made me question the traditional portraits of the past and today. Could I show a person’s personality without showing their face? I also began to think of each shot as an opportunity to show how each model has been “enlightened” by something in their life: an activity or their surroundings. I contemplated what enlightenment was in the past and what it is today.
Enlightenment was a European intellectual movement of the late 17th and 18th centuries emphasising reason and individualism rather than tradition. Rather than representing reason in this series, I have tried to depict the whimsical, the humorous, the fantastical, and the sometimes serious sides of each of my subjects. I wanted to show something that was individual to each of them, a connection with self to be free. Through freedom they find their own enlightenment.