Nina Katchadourian has a unique way of whiling away long plane journeys: she locks herself in the lavatory and styles herself as a 15th Century Flemish portrait. She uses whatever materials are around – paper towels and cups, loo-rolls, seat protectors, eye pads … snaps away quickly – and leaves the bathroom as she found it.
The project began,as Nina tells it, on a flight in March 2010: “While in the lavatory, I spontaneously put a tissue paper toilet cover seat cover over my head and took a picture in the mirror using my cellphone.”
The resultant image evoked 15th-century Flemish portraiture and Katchadourian decided “to add more images made in this mode and planned to take advantage of a long-haul flight from San Francisco to Auckland, guessing that there were likely to be long periods of time when no one was using the lavatory on the 14-hour flight.”
During the course of the flight – she “made several forays to the bathroom from my aisle seat (sofagirl notes – just as well for her fellow flyers), and by the time we landed I had a large group of new photographs entitled Lavatory Self-Portraits in the Flemish Style. I was wearing a thin black scarf that I sometimes hung up on the wall behind me to create the deep black ground that is typical of these portraits. There is no special illumination in use other than the lavatory’s own lights and all the images are shot hand-held with the camera phone.”
And so Seat Assignment was born. An ongoing travel piece of photos, video and digital images, all created in flight, and on a camera phone. We love it – proof again that everything we need, is right where we are.
(All of these images are copyrighted to Nina Katchadourian. Learn more about her fantastic projects here)