June 18, 2024

On the Tracks of Human Identity: The Second Place of the Numero+ Switzerland Photography Contest

Within the frame of our Numéro+ Switzerland photography contest “What Inspires you?” we are thrilled to present to you the project “Identitatem” by the Brazilian photographer Rafael Dardes, which secured this contest’s second place.

Dardes is a photographer and researcher based in Brazil, aiming to elicit self-questioning through his photography and research, resulting in aesthetic images. It is images that often touch on the topic of the human identity. Consisting of different factors, the photographer dedicated his past few years to the study of Biology, History, Anthropology and Sociology, in order to receive a 360 degree look around the abstract concept.

Back in 2016, Dardes stumbled over a picture from 1643 of a woman wearing a long dress with fur around the neck and sleeves, as well as a mask covering her face. The lady seemed to be wearing the mask in confidence as an important accessory of her full look, making it her own. This marked the starting point of Dardes’ interest in how masks can be and become a part of our persona and consequently of our identity. Through the performed studies the photographer found a quote by Italian-Brazilian artist Roberto Campadello, describing how a mirror makes us perceive “the face we never, ever showcase outwards, precisely because we cover it with the persona; the actor’s mask” and how our ego is in constant interaction between itself and the objective- as well as the subjective universe. Combined with a second quote by North American sociologist Robert Park, focusing on how everyone is, more or less consciously, playing a role that defines on how we are seen by others and how it represents a mask that shows the conception we have formed of ourselves and how eventually our identity is impacted by it, Rafael Dardes found the base for his project “Identitatem”.

Working with twin sisters, the photographer showcases the elementary unity between both statements, exploring the concept of where the human identity truly lies. “They are intricately intertwined and often become one” as Dardes stated. Within the photo series, he paid attention to have the twins somehow connected through different elements, bringing visual and conceptual depth to the work.

“Identitatem” is the result of an academic research visualized in the form of photography combining the beauty of science and art.