Hemya Moran: The Commonlanders

An interest in archives and vernacular images led Royal College of Art graduate Hemya Moran to pursue a project in which she immersed herself in the lives of her subjects and videotaped her experiences.

After spending anything from a few hours to several days in the company of her subjects – people she came across in her daily life – Moran restaged scenes from the video footage she collected, sometimes suggesting she and her subjects switch roles.

“I tried to re-enact intimate moments that occurred spontaneously during our mutual encounter,” she says of The Commonlanders, which features both the restaged images she made, and stills from the video footage. “Through fictive and documentary visual sources I extract what I perceive as images of idealised intimacy.”

The work touches on the private and public nature of digital images, which are sometimes blurred, and issues of intimacy and authenticity. “In each of these captured encounters lies a tension between existing romantic imagery, reality and re-enactment,” says Moran. “As my photographs go on to have a life of their own, they are incorporated into an online bank of images, which further complicates their slippery relationship with reality.”


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