With advanced computer technology Keith Cottingham explores the manipulation of the human body. His digitally manipulated portrait photographs spotlight the technological and biotechnological development, examining the relationship between man’s identity and the current possibilities for altering the human body.
Fictitious Portrait (Triple), 1993
DescriptionThe series Fictitious Portraits depicts a group of young, dark-haired boys in half-height on a black background. The titles of the three photographs are Fictitious Portrait (single), Fictitious Portrait (double) and Fictitious Portrait (triple), showing respectively one, two and three almost identical boys. The youths adopt different poses: One stands straight with his arms down the side; a second, seated, meets the camera’s gaze; while a third casts down his eyes and looks towards the right edge of the photograph.
About the work
Fictitious Portraits have a foundation in portrait photography. However, Cottingham does not use real people as models for the depicted boys but has composed a person from a mix of himself, drawings, wax sculptures and pictures of people of various races, ages and genders. Thus the boys are mutations of a number of actual and fictitious people. They are portrayed with no individual character: naked, with expressionless faces, posing in front of a black background.
Keith Cottingham’s art in generalOften Cottingham’s works are spectacular, large format pictures based in portraits or architectural interiors. The photographs, which are constructed from drawings, wax sculptures and digital image manipulation programs, resemble the three-dimensional models used in the film industry. But Cottingham’s models do not exist in any physical sense; they are merely immaterial visualisations.
Keith Cottingham is a graduate of the San Luis Obispo Polytechnic where in the period 1983-85 he explored drawing and photography.....