Art and lived experience are the key to my work. Double Life is an inquiry into the various possibilities for photography as a diaristic medium that blends the concepts of documentary and tableau photography whilst also exploring my own identity. I stage portraits, still life arrangements, interiors and landscapes that reflect on events from my life and family history. This is the way in which I investigated concepts of self-representation and subjectivity. What does it mean to create a series of ‘self-portraits’ that are focused on those around me, those whom reflect me, but are not me?

In making these images, I originally functioned as both director and participant, photographer and prop. It was necessary to disengage myself from the event I was re-enacting in order to present a narrative and experience that was suspended as though from the outside. This was the only means by which I could come to understand my relationship to the events to which the images alluded. However, as the project evolved my intentions expanded into a new form through which I was able to express my ideas more poignantly. I was no longer the physical subject; rather I placed my subjectivity onto those around me and in the process the work acquired a profoundly enigmatic quality.


Michelle Tran (b.1985) is a Melbourne-based photographer and recent Masters graduate from the Victorian College of the Arts. She currently lectures at Latrobe College of Art and Design and is represented by Lindberg Galleries. Michelle has also been a finalist in numerous national prizes including the Olive Cotton Award, the National Portrait Prize and the Bowness Photography Prize. More of Michelle’s work can be seen at her website.