Simon Obarzanek, IMA at TCB

11 April–11 May 2008

Melbourne photographer Simon Obarzanek’s project plays on our obsession with faces. For years he made frontal mugshot portraits of young people, male and female, posed against a grey background. Bare-shouldered or in black T-shirts, there was nothing to distinguish them sociologically, except their hairstyles. The sitters were not a dispassionate scientific sample—Obarzanek photographed faces he found interesting. His black-and-white prints suppress some aspects of difference (colouration) to emphasise others (proportion). The photos are always presented in groups, engaging us in compare-and-contrast. One face is Aryan, another alien; one is refined, another vulgar; one man's lips seem rudely pasted on. As we discriminate the classic from the quirky, those we like from the crowd, 80 Faces tells us as much about ourselves, about what resonates with us.