“In the world of Michael Bailey-Gates’ photographs, subjects get to play pretend. Imitation is as profound a practice as embodiment. The split between “being” and “looking like” breaks down. In Michael’s work, the subjects are what they look like, and this elision demands ambitious dreaming – and questioning – from the viewer.”- Cyrus Dunham
Author and activist Cyrus Dunham curated the introductory text to A Glint In The Kindling, Michael Bailey-Gates new book, edited by Pinch Publishing. The writer shares a very personal experience drawn from his own shoot session with Michael and sheds light on the photographer’ powerful aesthetic and photographic potential. In A Glint In The Kindling Michael imagines new ways of being within the confines of a binary. Existing both as subject and photographer, the images present these personal truths shaped by the imagination. Much of Michael’s work, reveals the artifice of the photograph which is present in the frame: the edge of the backdrop or cord that leads to the shutter, for example, which leaves the spectator with a set of questions about the conditions of the subject: Why is she photographing herself? What does she want us to believe? What is she trying to prove? It is this transparency in the image-making that reflects the subjects within and invite us to enter a world of freedom where everyone is whatever feel like being.
In photographing me, Mike created a kind of container. I do think that’s a big part of what Mike does— seeing into people, and then letting them play towards their own fantasies. That changes people, and they end up doing things they might not have otherwise, if they hadn’t had the chance to do it in front of Michael’s camera. Fake it ‘til you make it, the “it” being you, whatever that may be.