I am facinated by portraits of strangers. I force myself to imagine their personalities, their backgrounds, and what they are feeling. I often wonder if their photographs are an accurate reflection of who they are or if their image is a mask.
Looking at portraits allows me to judge fashion choices, project cultural background and economic circumstances, and even make guesses about a person's mental stability or intelligence. What happens to the experience of viewing a portrait when all of the subjects are, in reality, “still life?”
It is disorienting to go through all of those common steps of evaluating and judging of the person in a photograph when the subject is a realistic and human-looking mannequin. None of my judgements are accurate. I'm looking at a “doll” who's appearance changes every week depending what's on sale in the store.
Being aware of my desire to project any number of things onto a photograph of an inanimate object makes me wonder what I project onto the actual people I see each day. What judgements have I made about a person's background, education, how happy someone is, how friendly someone is, even how intelligent someone is?