hair stories images
wall text for Self Identity exhibition
Karin Stack's project HAIR STORIES represents her recovery from breast cancer and the corresponding growth of hair on her head. Without revealing her face (or her true identity), she sequentially photographed the top of her head as her scalp progressed from baldness to a thick mane of hair, presenting the photographs in an extended horizontal line. Meant to represent each week of the year, there are fifty two images in HAIR STORIES (forty eight of those are exhibited here).
Hair has always been a key component in determining self-image. As Stack says: "I focused on hair -- I couldn't wait for it to come back. I didn't connect with the conventions of representing illness, the seriousness, the over-the-top emotions, particularly for women's cancers. I wanted to make images that were minimal, blank, spare, scientific, with deadpan humor." In addition to presenting the hair growth as a sequence of black and white digital prints, the artist also created a flipbook of the images, a format that she saw as further combating the seriousness of the subject. Her presentation is also accompanied by an audio component of herself telling personal anecdotes in which she reflects on how hair, of the lack of it, affects one's sense of identity.