Like Tina Barney and Nan Goldin, New York model Elle Muliarchyk makes photographs that emerge organically from her own life. But unlike Barney and Goldin, what she does is not document that world, but make fictions out of its props and objects. Specifically, she goes into fashion stores, chooses an outfit, and transforms the changeroom into a set, dressing, shooting, lighting everything herself. You can see more pictures at Stern and a video about her at Fashion Television. (thanks, Danielle, for the tip.)
[images: © Elle Muliarchyk, 2006]
I’m sure the changerooms at the Hermès store are more salubrious than my local Salvation Army op shop, but they do the same thing: they are places for us to try on our dreams. With this shirt, I’ll look better, be better somehow. The changeroom is small and not a site for lingering; it’s a transitory space, both physically and psychologically. We use it to imagine the outlines of our future selves. The ultimate point of the changeroom experience is to integrate it into reality. What Muliarchyk does is to leave that impulse behind and tack to the opposite direction, into fantasy.
[image: © Elle Muliarchyk 2006]
And what better thing to enact a fantasy with than cinema? This picture with the gorilla’s hand draws on what we already know of the story of the beast and the girl. It opens up two latent narratives: is this the bit where Kong is dead or are they just starting the climb up the tower, and, how did Elle Muliarchyk get that prop in there?