MJ by Aki-Pekka Sinikoski
Who am I? The photograph suggests me an identity – permanent and almost everlasting. But I’m more than that.
I’m inhabited by several identities that switch around, change, and refuse to take a permanent form. I’m different at every moment. The light knows none of us. It can’t tell me who I am. The light hits the surface and exposes only what is visible.
As a photographer I am interested in the surface, identity and change. I have been shooting a series of documentary images of a Finnish young man who has dressed as Michael Jackson for the last four years. Every day. I believe that my series deals with finding one’s own identity and the courage to follow one’s own path. At the same time the images pose the question of how much can we know about a person based only on their outward appearance.
Michael-Jan is not Michael Jackson. The outward identity that seems familiar to everybody sets him apart from the crowd, but at the same time it hides the person inside.
The boundaries of reality are blurred in the grocery store when a Finnish housewife starts to blame Michael-Jan for things related to the life of the pop icon, deceased in 2009. The lady looks at Michael but does not see him. She sees only the reflecting surface which resembles someone else. All of a sudden Michael-Jan is invisible.
Who do people see when they look at me? Who do they see in my images?