Local artist Yasmin Mobayad is bringing a unique take on portrait photography to Analogue Academy

Local artist Yasmin Mobayad is bringing a unique take on portrait photography to Analogue Academy

Words by Mackenzie Pennycook

100 participants, 100 portraits, 100 hours, 100 songs.

Meet Yasmin Mobayad, one of the founders of Geelong’s lowercasepoetry, a writer, film photographer and installation artist, as well as being the co-founder/owner of The Hue and Cry Collective, an artist-run studio and gallery space in the heart of the Geelong CBD.

Having made a name for herself in the Geelong art scene over the past five years, she is now bringing her latest large scale art installation to Analogue Academy this month.

The large-scale installation piece is a collection of 100 portraits taken by Yasmin on black and white film. The premise of the piece was for the participants to bring an album that resonated with them to her studio at The Hue and Cry Collective, and to be photographed during the song that they connected most deeply with.

Yasmin spent an uninterrupted hour with each participant, playing their chosen album and encouraging open and honest conversation. At the end of the hour, the participants were asked to choose the song they connected to most deeply, close their eyes and only open them at the exact moment they felt most connected to the music. It’s at this point that Yasmin took their picture.

The final results showcase 100 different portraits to 100 different songs. No two portraits are the same and no two sessions were the same.

The art installation aims to encourage deep and meaningful connections and conversations between the artist and the participants, after a year that left a lot of us feeling incredibly disconnected.

“I re-learned how to be present and connect deeply through conversation with people, whether I knew them or not,” says Yasmin, but as the project continued, she realised she was helping her participants as much as they were helping her.

“I realised just how much other people needed it too… It was about creating a space that felt safe for people to explore what they needed on the day.”

The chosen music was a vital aspect of the portraits. Since the participants ranged from people Yasmin knew well to complete strangers, the chosen albums allowed for a sense of comfortability between Yasmin and the participants which in turn allowed for more open and honest conversation.

“I thought music would be the perfect bridging piece to allow people to share something familiar to them, get them to a point of comfortability, and open up the space for a bigger, deeper conversation and moment of connection.”

The incorporation of participants favourite albums and the different ways the participants connect to these albums means that no two portraits are ever alike, even if the same album was used the individual responses to the music are different.

“Music holds a lot of weight for most people. It is often attached to a period in time, a memory, a person, or a feeling we once had. It connects us to ourselves, but also to others,” she says.

Opening later this month, the exhibition aims to promote a sense of connection amongst others, whether it’s people that are known to each other or complete strangers.

“I hope that what people will take away from the exhibition is a sense of connection and appreciation for the unique experiences and lives we all have.”

The portraits will be showcased at Analogue Academy accompanied by a curated playlist from the albums and songs that were played during the time in the studio.

The final portraits have never been shown and will not be showcased until the opening night.

The exhibition opens on May 28 at 7pm and will be available for viewing at Analogue Academy until June 24.

You can find Analogue Academy at 23 Cuzens Place, Geelong.