Shadows of Our Selves
Shadows of Our Selves
Project by Chris Rayn · 2012 - 2013
  

Shadows of Our Selves

[Take a tour]
Dancing shadows, a spooky performance

01 Performance

Dancing shadows, a spooky performance

Shadows of a toddler, walking with his mother

02 Dependence

Shadows of a toddler, walking with his mother

Shadows of an angry father, scolding his son

03 Anger

Shadows of an angry father, scolding his son

A shadow, screaming in silence

04 Scream

A shadow, screaming in silence

People molten to twins in shadows

05 Symbiosis

People molten to twins in shadows

An umbrella in reality, the Sword of Damocles  in shadows

06 Risk

An umbrella in reality, the Sword of Damocles in shadows

Woman taking refuge in the shadows of her umbrella

07 Security

Woman taking refuge in the shadows of her umbrella

In shadows, a mother protects her family

08 Protection

In shadows, a mother protects her family

Shadows of a couple, woman leading

09 Dominance

Shadows of a couple, woman leading

In shadows, a man is gazing at the wonders above

10 Gazing

In shadows, a man is gazing at the wonders above

Shadow of a man, striving higher and higher

11 Striving

Shadow of a man, striving higher and higher

Two friends in disagreement, their shadows reveal

12 Disagreement

Two friends in disagreement, their shadows reveal

In shadows, a single mom supports her baby

13 Support

In shadows, a single mom supports her baby

In shadows, a girl is looking up to her mother

14 Guidance

In shadows, a girl is looking up to her mother

In shadows, a toddler stands seperated from his family

15 Seperation

In shadows, a toddler stands seperated from his family

In shadows, toddler throws temper tantrum with his father

16 Tantrum

In shadows, toddler throws temper tantrum with his father

In shadows, a boy with hat is wandering

17 Wandering

In shadows, a boy with hat is wandering

In shadows, a cleaning person is taking a break

18 Exhaustion

In shadows, a cleaning person is taking a break

A preoccupied shadow is juggling a phone and tablet

19 Preoccupied

A preoccupied shadow is juggling a phone and tablet

Riding a bike sets shadows in motion

20 Drive

Riding a bike sets shadows in motion

A couple carries luggage together, their shadows in cooperat

21 Cooperation

A couple carries luggage together, their shadows in cooperat

A boy dragging his mother in shadows

22 Disobedience

A boy dragging his mother in shadows

About the Project

"What is a life? A frenzy. What is life? / A shadow, an illusion, and a sham. / The greatest good is small; all life, it seems / Is just a dream, and even dreams are dreams." - Calderón de la Barca's Life is a Dream

As each day draws to a close, the sun nears the horizon, shadows grow longer, and the world of bright daylight disappears into darkness. People rush home, enjoy the last sunlight with their families, they smile, they scold, they wonder, they fear, they hope - and with them, their shadows, a lifelong companion. When reality is turned upside down, this shadow world comes to life.

In this surreal project, the shadows of people around us take the center stage, as the viewer (and the world) is turned around. In our shadows, individual features disappear, and we become archetypes of our roles and emotional states. But shadows also lie - they distort the truth hidden beneath. As such, shadows are like masks and faces, which people wear proudly in their everyday performances. All the world's a stage, and here, it is a shadow theater. If the subjective images we perceive of each other - the entire material world in fact - are like mere shadows, as Platon postulated in his Allegory of the Cave in Antiquity already, how would such a realm of walking shadows actually look like? It is like ours in many ways, yet it looks eeriely different and conceives us.

By using shadows, this project reveals the unreliability and untruthfulness of the reality we perceive through our eyes, and, at the same time, its manipulation through photography, which is, after all, yet another subjective reflection, or projection, of the truth. Seeing people deformed into "ghosts" or "extraterrestrial entities" even makes us feel alienated, literally, from these real humans beings - which are frozen in the moment in otherwise authentic, unstaged photographs -, yet we feel comfortable normally when confronted with the faces of our fellow beings. But isn't it all the same? A study of human behavior and the construct of face, the project uses a stylistic language known from the plastic arts to turn men, women and children into living sculptures, created by nature, captured by camera and perceived by the human mind. As the titles hint, these works are interpretations of shadows, and what appears to be happening in them, rather than what actually happened.

By interacting with the world of shadows, obtaining a "flipped" perception of reality not normally possible, you are invited to think about and question the nature of what you see - and what people let you see.