Untangledis a series by London-based Italian photographer Rossella Damiani, whose practice and image-making are heavily influenced by contemporary society. The series highlights the issues surrounding hair’s personal versus market value, exploring the different phases in the human hair trade and the trade’s ambiguity. Untangled aims to create an open dialogue between the work itself and the observer, leading to discussion, understanding and awareness. The series explores the concepts of transformation and alteration, following the hair and the faces of the Asian women involved in the project. Ultimately, Untangled questions the morality of the process, exposing our attachment to beauty standards, considering the power of capitalism and globalisation.
The title reflects my research and creative journey, making something complicated easier to understand or deal with, removing the knots from an untidy mass of string and separating the different threads, as the definition of Untangle suggests.
My research started with a journalistic approach to gain more insights into the human hair trade. I analysed data, compared percentages from The Observatory of Economic Complexity, read articles and conducted interviews. I looked at the history of hair in different cultures, the positive and negative aspects within the hair market, the fair trade alternatives and the overproduction system.
I focused on the hair life cycle and the long journey it takes from one head to another, highlighting the ambiguity behind the trade and the alienation of the overall process, focusing on the loss of identity that women experience, from the harvesting to the exchange between women.