Establishing a sense of individuality is a major struggle for everyone growing up, toggling varying dynamics in the different communities we surround ourselves with: family, friends, classrooms, jobs, sports teams, and the endless other possibilities for contextualized interactions. It’s hard to shape the things that define you as an individual when you are caught in an endless cycle of code-switching, adjusting your language, gestures and presence depending on what setting you find yourself in at any given moment.
Embracing this seamless transition between his own fluctuating personalities, photographer András Ladocsi explores these nuances by creating images that address the subtleties between the different characters he embodies. “Each community can be considered a micro-community with their own rules, where participants have to learn to live to be able to succeed,” he explains. “Some can find the ways, and others do not even try it. I tried hard to assimilate with each community I belonged to when I was becoming a young adult, and I found out that different people came to know different personalities inside of me.”
In his youth, Ladocsi was a professional swimmer, so the images in his series Swallow reference this heightened period of macho athleticism and his time spent in the water. “Changing gestures, voices and mimicking come to mind when I recall that time,” he explains. “Spending many days and hours training, going to training camps, then missing out on training because I wanted to spend time with my friends, ignoring my family but also missing my family and spending time with them – all of these things characterize my life. In retrospect, I experienced a lot of things in the past that I didn’t even notice were happening at the time. Thinking about that past gave shape to this topic, and I wanted to show it through photographs.”
In order to capture these subtleties, Ladocsi focuses on the poetic, quiet moments of pause in between takes, when individuals exhale to recharge themselves for the next piece in their performance. Honing in on gesture and texture in ambient natural light, his images are quiet reflections on the way we signal and move in different environments, from intense physical force in sports to tender moments between couples and unguarded gatherings at home among friends.
It’s not that these multiple personalities are meant to reveal some sort of deception. Instead, Ladocsi embraces them as an inevitable structure in the creation of all individuals. “These caricatures have their own order, and how you live within these different orders has to be different. They created different personalities in me, and this project is about how I feel assimilating all those characters into one. My past is my identity, but my identity is made up of multiple people that cannot ever be separated out of me.”