The work of Melbourne-based photographer Michelle Tran isn’t what you would readily associate with self-portraiture. But in many ways, her works almost act as a kind of roadmap to life, identity and experience.
Where her earlier works assumed a more archetypal and performative mode of portraiture – with Tran reconstructing and playing out pivotal moments in her recent personal history – her more recent output has seen the young photographer assemble moments, objects, arcane architectural details, people and pets as a kind of allegorical gesture of self and identity.
Her new show at Stills Gallery’s mezzanine space The Level, which runs alongside Trent Parke’s exhibition to coinciding with the release of his new book Minutes to Midnight through iconic German publishing house Steidl, represents a series of floating points in a lineage – moments, markers and signifiers of a suburban life once lived and the self-definition of young adulthood. There is the roguish cat, held at arm’s length; the garish pearl-white curtains that spill to the floor, only to be mirrored by spotlessly polished floorboards. There is the orphaned technology of the CD-to-cassette tape converter; the splotchy, unfinished paint job.
Stylistically reduced and economised and ever so slightly made strange, Tran’s photographs exist in the dream between one’s past and present.
Michelle Tran shows at Stills Gallery until March 24.