© Julieta Sans, Mumi – me encantaria que gustes de mi, Dalia Rosetti, from the series Well read, 2008

© Julieta Sans, German – body of a woman, Pablo Neruda, from the series Well read, 2008

“Well Read” is a series of staged portraits of characters from a fictional book chosen by each model, be it a novel, a poem or a children’s story. The idea is not to illustrate the book but to leave the story up to the spectators’ imaginations, giving place to myriad possible interpretations.

These staged portraits invite to reflect on issues of identity and the possibilities of representation of the photographic portrait. These are images of real people in a gently directed but controlled performance: but why have these people chosen these characters and what is the story behind the image? How many facets and traits of a person is it possible to read in a portrait  let alone a staged one?

The project explores the notion that there are as many interpretations of a portrait as there are spectators, as there are of a book by its different readers. In the words of Roland Barthes in The Death of the Author: “there is one place where this multiplicity [of a text] is focused and that place is the reader, not the author.”

As we overlay our own experiences and identities with the narrative, a multiplicity of new stories are thrown into existence, and the same can be said of the ways in which we “read” a photographic portrait: Well Read celebrates fiction and the impossibility of an accurate representation in photography, the difference between the image someone thinks they project and the images we construct of one another.


More of Julieta’s work here

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