Gary Schneider – Genetic Self-portrait

Gary Schneider’s Genetic Self-portrait was a response to human Genome project in America.  Schneider decided that the project would be a diagnostic genetic self-portrait. This means that the project would be a identification of nature and the cause of anything. Also he explains that he wanted the project to be about discovery as well, the discovery of a predisposition to a serious health condition that would affect his health insurance. Schneider also wanted to see at what point do the images move from these pieces of genetic information to the point at which they become a personal image, whilst creating a scale to be an impact of the extremely personal. The scale of his images are usually in feet, hair images are in total 6 feet across, chromosomes 22 feet, iris’s 5 feet and so on. By over powering the viewer with big prints they can not only see each detail represented in the images but the over all size engulfs the viewer giving a sense of ore and oppression.

Furthermore the project became about the continuation and development from the Schneider’s previous projects of Hand Prints. Therefore it seemed fitting to make a project to make a ‘Multilayered portrait of the scientific and Pseudoscientific images of the whimsical of the forensic sciences’, as well as a catalogue of the forensic sciences.

Schneider also likes to create archives. Consequently he was interested and influenced by the archival work of the Becher’s series of water towers, gravel plants and other similar series. In addition, he noticed that the information gathered from microscopes and other pieces forensic science research was gathered as genetic information, just items and numbers thus making the project seem more of an archive for genetic images rather than the information.

Accordingly Schneider was also influence in the work of Karl Blossfeldt, who I have previously looked at in this project. The image create from looking at Blossfeldt’s work was the image of his sperm that was presented in the centre of the frame with a plain, non distracting background with only a smaller sperm to the right of the main subject. This gives the piece form, meaning, purpose and be able to present it as art.

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Gary Schneider (2012) Gary Schneider – Genetic Self Portrait. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 6th March 2012]

Worth, J. (2012) Gary Schneider in conversation part 2. Available at: [Accessed: 6th March 2012].

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