I spend a tremendous amount of time analyzing my motivations, tendencies, and weaknesses. Self-portraiture is a therapeutic self-examination where I play-out the process of struggling to live my life without abnormal levels of guilt, anxiety, and fear. I photograph myself as various internal characters to act out psychological meanderings, memories, intrinsic dramas and attempts at personal growth and change. I have always been aware of and reliant on the intuitive power of the self-portrait to reveal and influence my behaviors.
For this collection of photographs, I am working to change a specific behavior. When I speak and say 'I' internally I am always thinking ‘We.' Characterized as a dissociative identity disorder, this is an odd coping mechanism carried over from childhood. The annoying and sometimes troubling habit is the basis of a series of photographic self-portraits, titled, I/We Conflict
For nearly two decades I have worked primarily with the self-portrait. It has always been 'We', never 'I' in my work. Since the very start of my family pathology work, I was unaware of the existence of my I/We conflict. For almost a decade, I unconsciously grouped my portraits into diptychs and triptychs creating multiplicity. After being diagnosed with this disorder a few years ago, this was quite a revelation to me. The new photographs address this hidden layer of a narcissist/co-narcissist struggle. In this project, I am attempting single portrait pieces just as I am trying to be ‘I’ and not ‘We’ (although more than one of me still appears from time to time.) Another theme in the work that complicates the attempt to feel individual rather than an assemblage (and where duality is a necessity,) was the birth of my son. This work sets out as a specific identity exercise but reflects a scattered identity representative of my 37 years.
To create these pieces, I am shooting through a 1900’s era 11x14 view camera with a DSLR rather than film. The term for this process is ground glass imagery. I am currently exploring ideas of projection/reflection using the ground glass surface as a way to visually mediate this 'I/We' conflict.
– Elizabeth Raymer Griffin, 2016