In the audio slideshow above, photographer Zoe Crosher talks about the wall installation from her ongoing series The Michelle duBois Project, currently on view in MoMA’s New Photography 2012 exhibition.
I first met the Los Angeles–based artist about a year ago, when she was on a residency and had a studio in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn. I had heard she was an artist to look out for, but wasn’t familiar with her work. When I walked into her studio, I saw hundreds of pictures of the same woman—sometimes elaborately dressed up as different characters, other times posing as herself for a casual snapshot. In every picture she looks like a different woman, but she is always aware of and posing for the camera. The woman looked a bit like the artist, but I couldn’t be quite sure. These pictures danced between fact and fiction in an intriguing and disquieting way. Who was she? Where was she? Where these faked pictures?
It turns out that Crosher inherited the large archive of Michele duBois, an alias of an all-American girl from Oklahoma who was a flight attendant and occasional call girl in the Pacific Rim during the 1970s and 1980s. Crosher re-photographed, scanned, enlarged, altered, and re-edited duBois’s self-portraits to create complicated and alternate narratives. The result is an ever-changing accumulation of pictures of an utterly fascinating woman who questions the possibilities of self-portraiture and representation.