Singapore-based photographer Sean Lee (1985) was one of the photographers selected for Slideluck Warsaw in October 2014, with his project “Shauna”.
Between 2007 and 2009, Sean created another persona based on himself who was a woman: Shauna. The work began in the red light district in Siem Reap, where there’s a large transgender community. Every bar was a set and the streets were the stage.
“It takes me about 2 or 3 hours to get ready. Except for the first few times where I needed some help, most of the other times I was alone in my room. I first have a shower where I remove all of my bodily hair, even in areas where they would eventually be covered up. And then I begin to work on my make-up, which I do as carefully as I can. Though, it is not really making up, in the sense that I am not trying to look like a prettier version of myself, but rather I am trying to put on Shauna’s face. So, I actually have a series of steps, which I have kept the same and do not change, to ensure that she looks more or less the same each time. I have found that the eyes are the prime concern. Eyeliner, eye shadow and especially synthetic eyelashes; then comes the undergarments, then clothes and finally the hair. This process is a physical one. And yet the strange thing is that if I do it well enough, I genuinely do feel different when I look at myself in the mirror. I feel a strange sense of responsibility for her, a commitment to bring her out, to play her well; to make her come alive.”
This is an extract from GUP Magazine’s interview.
a. What program was used to create the multimedia?
It’s a simple multimedia / slideshow made using iPhoto.
b. How and why did you choose that sound/music?
The music is “Stormy Blues” by Arne Bang Huseby. Actually at first when I heard it I didn’t think it was all that suitable but the more I watched the slideshow with the music the more I liked it and it reminded me of the kind of track that is used for an old film. I wanted that sort of effect. I wanted the music not to be an accompaniment but a soundtrack that adds to the story. I think the music gave the images fresh life.
c. Tell us about the editing process when you think of a multimedia.
The slideshow method of showing images has many unique qualities. In a physical exhibition it is rather difficult to dictate the sequence in which people view your images, it is also not possible to dictate the time that each person spends on your photograph. In a book, you can kind of control sequencing but not time. The Slideshow format allows for both – Order in which the person views the entire work and time that each person has for each image. The editing process for a slideshow is closer to a sort of ‘trailer’, especially since my slideshow is quite short. What I wanted was to give the viewer, glimpses of a story. This allows for some mystery and curiosity. To me the slideshow is a kind of flashback for my memory of Shauna.