Stories of the Black and Latinx diaspora translated into a collection of fashion and photography.
MIRROR – Marcellus Barnett, 2020
Black or African-America
Red and Green
4:19 DE: What do you think of when you hear the word ‘representation’?
4:40 MB: Representation is when a part of you is included. You can support something that's not necessarily specific to you, it can be about other people and still be representative.
5:19 DE: So you feel represented through other things or other people?
MB: Yea I’m represented through others...
5:25 DE: ...You’re reflected… like… a MIRROR? *laughs*
5:33 MB: *laughs* Sure.
5:37 DE: How do you want to be represented? It doesn’t have to be artistically, it can just be a general question. How do you want people to view you as?
MB: I don’t know. 5:55 Umm I don’t think I have an answer.
6:00 DE: What do you think people view you as already? Not even what you want people to view you as but what you are viewed as, that you’ve noticed, that’s a fact.
6:18 MB: People say I’m skinny, some people say I’m tall, some people say I look homeless…
DE: Damn… *smh*
MB: ...Some people say I look like a model. I don’t know, literally everything out there. Some people say I’m smart, some people disagree. I don’t know, I never thought about it.
7:05 DE: I feel like you do think about it though, a lot. You’re not actively answering that specific question, but through your self portraiture in your photography work you are representing yourself. The point of a self portrait is how you represent yourself.
7:30 MB: Well the self portraiture started because I wanted to see myself. Not necessarily because I wanted people to see me a certain way. I told you this before, I felt invisible for most of my life so when I make work about myself I can see myself. It’s not necessarily about what other people see, it’s more so about me creating a space where I can see myself and just exist. Not necessarily for anyone but more so for myself, because I’m searching for how I want to exist. I experiment with that through photography and wood.
8:42 DE: Why do you feel you’re generally viewed as invisible? Where does that come from?
9:00 MB: My childhood, highschool, middle school, elementary school.
9:10 DE: Do you feel that you make work for yourself because people will view you however they want to? So your work isn’t about controlling how you’re viewed or changing anyones mind, it’s about making yourself visible for yourself because those people will think whatever they will think at the end of the day?
9:50 MB: Yea but in my work I also use things as cultural symbols. They are things that I’m comfortable identifying with. One of them being a tank top, another one being my skin color, my matted hair. I’ve recently started incorporating cultural symbols in my work. Most of them are things that I have and I am outside of what I’m wearing. It’s my body, my skin color, my hair things that I can’t change unless I do some drastic shit.
Talk about my book that came in the mail
20:16 MB: It might sound kind of cheesy but something that is more related to the photo is:
I always feel like I’m floating so I’m just looking for a place to land or some shit.
20:35 DE: *giggles* woooow so deep and cheesy at the same time, perfect.
DE: *mimics what MB just said* “I’m just looking for a place to land. I always feel like I’m floating. - Marcellus Barnett for MIRROR Magazine.”
DE: There’s also this environmental portrait photo I took of you. *shows MB the photo*
21:12 MB: I feel like for the environmental portrait the same quote applies, I could say the same quote. The photo looks like I’m on a planet so...
21:17 DE: I’m always making you floating, isolated, and kind of mysterious in the photos I take of you. You can’t really see your face in the photo.
21:37 MB: I get that a lot.
21:40 DE: Which part?
21:43 MB: Both.
21:44 DE: That you’re mysterious and that people can’t see your face well?
21:47 MB: Yea when I drop all my hair down.