Synecdoche: Style Embodied

by Kennedy Ware.

In literature a synecdoche refers to when a  part is used to represent the whole. It is my belief that personal style functions as visual synecdoche for our identities. I view getting dressed each day as more than a pragmatic exercise, but rather a chance to decide what we would like to share with the world about ourselves. Often others will use these choices as a heuristic to determine who they believe we are. It is my hope to slightly alter this process, and that this series probes viewers to approach each photo contemplating what the subject wishes to communicate rather than focusing solely on your personal interpretation messages they receive upon first glance.

In this photography project I explore the ways in which and the extent to which personal style conveys one’s unique identity. Focusing solely on black subjects, I hope to disrupt the viewers inclination to limit interpretations of the subject’s style choices to the political, while forcing the viewer to reconcile that personal style is inherently that. As all subjects styled themselves, their only instruction was to include an element that they consider signature to their personal style. I challenge viewers to interrogate each subject as an individual, as well as the messages that each person intentionally and unintentionally conveys based upon their style choices. Ultimately, I hope that this triptych will leave the viewer with the sense of the distinction that is black style as a collective, while privileging the choices and voice of each individual captured.


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