Wednesday, December 29, 2010
"After observing particular subcultures and ethnic groups, Nikki S. Lee adopts their general style and attitude through dress, gesture, and posture, and then approaches the group in her new guise. She introduces herself as an artist (though not everyone believes her or takes it seriously), and then spends several weeks participating in the group’s routine activities and social events while a friend or member of the group photographs her with an ordinary automatic “snapshot” camera. Lee maintains control of the final image, however, insofar as she chooses when to ask for a picture and edits what photographs will eventually be displayed.
From schoolgirl to senior citizen, punk to yuppie, rural white American to urban Hispanic, Lee’s personas traverse age, lifestyle, and culture. Part sociologist and part performance artist, Lee infiltrates these groups so convincingly that in individual photographs it is difficult to distinguish her from the crowd. However, when photographs from the projects are grouped together, it is Lee’s own Korean ethnicity, drawn like a thread through each scenario, which reveals her subtle ruse."
more here. It would be so demanding to really integrate yourself into a culture, to work to gain acceptance and to be a part of that fully (she would stay as long as it took to be 'accepted', sometimes taking months to do). I imagine you would gain an incredible amount of empathy and understanding along the way.
(above are from The Hispanic Project, The Hip Hop Project, The Lesbian Project, The Yuppie Project)