In this work I have explored the notion of “otherness”.
Belonging to a social group can depend on meeting a set of criteria. Some sociologists argue that these criteria are socially-constructed, they are created by the societies they emerge from.
“The development and maintenance of every culture requires the existence of another different and competing alter ego. The construction of identity… whether Orient or Occident, France or Britain… involves establishing opposites and otherness whose actuality is always subject to the continuous interpretation and reinterpretation of their differences from us.”(Said 1995: 332)
Before taking the photograph I requested that each subject reflect on their “otherness”. Our clothes can display, express and shape our identity; each subject was requested to choose what clothes to wear. Consumerism defines us; each subject was requested to bring a consumer product. Food makes the eater; each subject was requested to bring some food. In this way the subjects were able to express their otherness within the group.
Similarities and differences are at the core of how we experience personal identity. Without dark, there is no light. Without grief, there is no joy. Diversity is absolute and should be celebrated.
Said, E. (1995) Orientalism: Western conceptions of the Orient, (revised edition), London: Penguin