The Spanish artist Oscar Parasiego has created a series which is ongoing named Diaspora which illustrates the transformation of cultural identity. He himself moved to the UK and was inspired to look at the notion of ‘photography as truth’ to blur the complex osmosis of the many thousands of immigrants looking for a better life abroad.
In the series there are a set of portraits that are altered to be a silhouetted/ reflective reflection of the environment around them. The person is clearly present, but unknown in this new world they’ve traveled to, but they are clearly invisible. It represents this idea of being thrust into an alien environment in a different country.
Parasiego has played with the idea that Jenna Garrett explains saying “For many immigrants seeking opportunity away from home, what begins as a practice of assimilation and cultural ease quickly becomes an evolution of personal identity. The former self transfigures anew, a stranger to both their past and present, uncertain how to hold on while moving forward in the foreign landscape before them.”
The photographs are clever representations of what it can feel like to be an immigrant or a migrant in a foreign country. It can be quite isolating for them and make them feel very invisible and greatly undervalued. The clever way in which the mirror reflects the people and their outlines and makes them blend into the room is a unique approach to a very common interpretation and feeling, often experienced by these people when they are thrust into these new environments.
The reflections are of all different types of people and show that migrants can be anyone and there is no set stereotype for this. The environments also show they can be anywhere and in any location – there is no set standard.
I thought the series was interesting to look at because of all it connotes about migration and all that it represents. It gives a clean outtake on a set group of people, but doesn’t have to show their faces, just their outlines. It’s clever and a unique way to look at representing a migration story from a set of different people. It’s also interesting to see the types of a way a project of this type can be photographed, should the people being worked with be vulnerable to an extent as they may be in this case.