"I will never use a substitute for butter.
Margarine is one molecule away from eating plastic.
If I'm going to eat that type of food, it's going to be the real deal. "
- Paula Deen
Us Magazine January 17th, 2012
Over the Summer of 2013, I began to explore the psyche of a particular southern cooking celebrity. She had caused some scandal in the press when her true character came to life and tarnished her matronly persona. As a southern woman, I have never been able to accept her representation of the South or women in general. The way she uses her position to portray herself, as this perfect, domesticated woman is what I find to be hypocritical and unrealistic. I imagine the image she presents to the public is so different from how she really is, it is much like the difference between butter and margarine. One is the real and fresh thing, while the other is a disgusting imitation that does not quite hit the mark.
This photographic journey started, by establishing a character for myself. I began to use make up, wigs and costumes to transform myself into a completely false character, who I later named Linda Lemone`. In the spotlight, she is a model of sweetness, with her smiles and grandmother-like style. However, Linda has a darker side that borders the line of trashy and racist.
Comparing the two sides of Linda's persona, I used two different photographic media, traditional black and white film and modern digital techniques. Using film allowed me to explore the "Butter" or real side of my character and established a casual or documentary style. The "Margarine" or the fake side of Linda was established through my use of color, studio lighting and digital manipulation. Headlines, props, image parings, and even different image frames are used to create a brief storyline that leans toward the ironic and truthful.
Margarine (I) Southern Cooking
Butter (I) : Southern Cook'n
Margarine (II) : How It All Began
Butter (II): How It All Began
Margarine (III) : The Answer
Butter (III): The Problem (There goes my Welfare check)
Margarine (IV) : Garden
Butter (IV): Garden
Margarine (V) : Habits
Butter (V) : Habits
Margarine (VI) : Word
Butter (V) : Word