The History of the Mirage Series:
Charles Alexander Moffat.
I first conceived of Mirage in August 2001. The concept was to create a new social archetype of femininity. There are numerous archetypes within society: The housewife, the working mother, the divine whore, the dumb blonde, the witch, the butch, etc. Almost all archetypes have negative connotations attached to them.
Mirage was conceived as a new archetype that is free from negativity and possesses only the positive attributes of a person who is concerned about society and the way it is heading. Mirage is like a signpost, a guide to fixing things in society. As a person, she doesn't speak much, but her actions speak for themselves.
The purpose of the Mirage project as a whole is an attempt at creating a new archetype, a new visual image and a personality that goes with it that people could identify easily if it was made popular enough.
My goal for the Mirage series is to make a new female identity. A person
who does not exist, but whom people can identify with, and one that is
socially aware and quirky in her own special way. An identity that stresses
brains and intelligence over social acceptability.
"Gothic culture" could indeed be considered a 'freak show' for
mainstream society, and so the photography segment of the series was also
documentation of a performance art piece which we did in downtown Toronto.
The idea was to see how people would respond to a "freak" in the heart of
the city. Let alone a quirky freak that makes social commentary. It was
interesting seeing how people stared, pointed and sometimes pretended to
I originally wanted Mirage to be wielding a scythe, but changed my mind
and opted instead for the less threatening giant umbrella that you see in
Many goths are into wicca and various forms of beliefs in magic. Some are just superstitious. In Mirage's case I have made her out to be a bit of an illusionist, and thus the name suits her. In essence however it really is a play upon the whole "beauty is skindeep" idea. The person that she is is underneath the "illusion" of what people perceive her to be: A freak. The entire series of paintings and photographs however shows what she is really like however, proving that a person must study her over a length of time in order to truly understand her. This is also why her face and neck is painted. She wears a mask of skin-like paint.
In September I made 4 preliminary paintings as I developed the concept of what Mirage should look like. In the weeks following I interviewed over a dozen potential models for the position of "Mirage" and ended up with a film student named Katherine who had experience in acting and was a good collaborator. I was more interested in having someone with acting talent working with me.
In October 2001 we shot the series on the streets of downtown Toronto, starting at St Patrick outside of the AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario), worked our way down the street, north on Spadina (in the heart of Chinatown), and then south on Spadina until we passed Queen Street. We worked our way east through the Bay Street financial district and eventually to Front Street where we finished in the interior of BCE Place in order to take advantage of its architecture, floors and dramatic lighting.
The rest, is history. Mirage is becoming a cornerstone of Gothic photography in the 21st Century and the Neo-Gothic Art Movement.
If you wish to purchase a print, you can go to charlesmoffat.com. 8x12" prints are $50 US and 16x24" prints are $100 US.