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Tommy Kha


Tommy Kha, "Parkslope", 2017; "Exhale-travisapartment", 2019; "Christian", 2021; "Dino", 2014; "David Axell", 2019; "I", 2016.

Q: How does the construct of identity influence self-portraiture?

A: I’m never quite sure how much identity and self-portraiture are synonymous. I like to maintain ambiguity to play within this space. Both identity and self-portraits are unfixed.

Q: Is a portrait a performance?

A: Whether it’s the construction for the camera or carrying a camera, there’s some level of photography being performed.

Q: What is the core difference between a selfie and a self-portrait?

A: The distinction, to me, is the distance between the self-portrait being made and seeing the final image. Digital and cellphone cameras allow for more immediacy. Or simply, the selfie is closer to mirrors, self-portraits operate more like windows.

Q: Is contextualization necessary to understand a true (self) portrait?

A: Though autobiography operates more like material in my picture making, I don’t think a Socratic view is necessary for looking.

Q: How do you deal with the concept of time and space within your methodology as a visual creative artist - and do you deal differently with time and space within the identity of the images you create?

A: I’m more curious about continuing my projects as life-long endeavours. I’m interested in how the pictures change over time and cataloguing my own mortality.

Q: What is the most important quality to possess as a portrait maker?

A: No matter the methodology, strategy or process, I always like to be surprised. I’m not sure whether it is possible to be formulaically surprised. But I think that it is most important in photography to be surprised by picture making.


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