Xueci Guo graduated from the Glasgow School of Art as a Master of Design in Photography this year. We take a look at her final year project 'The Debutante'.
"The character in this set of images is loosely based on Rosalind Connage from F. Scott Fitzgerald book ‘This Side of Paradise’. Even though the book was published almost 100 years ago, the character of Rosalind is still relevant today. Outwardly her bratish and rebellious nature belies a vulnerable and sensitive young women, who is chained to the world of the wealthy elite. Her life is not her own, it is predestined, she will not marry for love, she will marry for money. She knows this, and her behaviour and emotions are dictated by this knowledge."
"Inspired by two photographers, Julia Hetta and Erwin Olaf, I chose to combine staged photography and fashion photography together as my own visual language for this set of photographs. Through the introduction of a model I used before, I searched the website of Colours Agency – Model and Creative Management and found a ideal main model, Bethany Rose Dunn. She was a ballet dancer until she hurt her hip during training, which gave her certain slightly tragedy temperament. She had an innocent face with natural angry and special beauty. She was enthusiastic, very emotional. She had a soul that desires to succeed. The male models I used, Ryan Hughes and Josh Mark Wheatley, were found among Facebook friends. I could found them easily because that I benefitted greatly from the former interpersonal interaction I did. I became familiar with many models based in Glasgow when I collaborated with creative people a few months ago."
"Next I found a suit in Hotel du Vin & Bistro, a flat located in Waverly Garden and the stage space in Garnethill Multiculture Meeting Centre as the locations for photographs. The luxury rooms and fancy props helped reflect the wealthy background of the character and the flashy life of her. The stage with curtain reappeared the character’s disguised life theatrically. Under the spotlights, the exquisite emotions of the character had been blew-up. By contrast, her inconsistent and sorrowful personality was highlighted. The other side of her personality showed up. Under the extremely fine life, there was a miserable storm prepared."
Acquired inspirations from oil paintings, I chose to use filming light because this was the best way to dramatise the story, to me. I expected to create a strong narrative sense in my work. The character wallowed herself into fake perfection and her life itself was an aching living theatre. To set off the different mental states of the character, I chose the bright-coloured garments in some photographs instead of the elegant ones I used for the others. The strong contrast was also for the representation of the conflictive personality of her. The character wandered at the edge between reality and dream, picked the dark side rather than the bright side. This was how my journey of searching the dark side ended temporarily.
To see more of Xueci's work visit: xueciguo.tumblr.com