Molly is a professional photographer and director from Donegal, who lives in Ireland and travels the world to where her work takes her. Since the age of eighteen, Molly has produced unique music, fashion, street and documentary-style work. Her personal practice currently centres around the experimental portrait, with particular interest in the manipulation of the photographic image, as well as documentary photograph. She has been nominated for several awards and featured in many group shows, including the UK VMA Best Cinematographer nomination, The Tenth Man's 21 People to watch in 2021, and as the youngest ever contestant on Sky Arts Master of Photography.
'You Are Now Entering the Digital Landscape' exists at the uncanny intersection of photography and artificial intelligence. Drawing from the theoretical concept of the Uncanny, this body of work engages with the ambiguous, unsettling feeling that arises from simultaneously encountering the familiar and the foreign, the real and the imagined. In a collaboration between the photographer and AI technology, photographs taken of identical twins and images of the barren and craggy Donegal landscape are interpreted, altered and distorted in a disconcerting body of work that brings into question the evolution and augmentation of modern technology. It invites the viewer to grapple with the ambiguity of truth in our digital age where boundaries between the physical and the digital are increasingly blurred through exploration of the uncanny double, the mirror image and the other-worldly landscape. The project encourages us to reflect on broader societal concerns about our relationship with technology in the creative space and to investigate our perceptions of the photographic image.
This dissertation examines the presence of the uncanny in contemporary American documentary photography, with a particular focus on the works of Bruce Gilden, Diane Arbus, Richard Misrach and Stephen Shore. Drawing on psychoanalytical theories and content analysis, the study explores the way in which these photographers utilise various technical and thematic devices as a visual strategy to create uncanny work that disrupts conventional notions of reality, reveals hidden aspects of society, and challenges the viewer’s perceptions.
Drawing on Freud’s understanding of the Uncanny, Susan Sontag’s discussions around the purpose of the photograph and its representation, as well as Liz Wells’ and Gillian Rose’s methodologies for content and thematic analysis, this study determines that the uncanny is a theme that reveals itself in each of these photographers works.
Through an in-depth analysis of selected images from each photographer, this study considers how each artist employs different techniques of framing, scale, distortion, and lighting as well as various themes and motifs in their work to create uncanny photography that provokes curiosity, discomfort and uncertainty in the viewer.
By examining the interaction between the uncanny and documentary and street photography, this dissertation offers insights into the relationship that photography and photographers have to the real and how they can distort and manipulate it.
Ultimately, this dissertation argues that the uncanny is a powerful tool for contemporary documentary photographers to disrupt established narratives and ways of seeing, open up new perspectives, and engage viewers in a critical reflection on the world around us.