If your idea of a dreamy night in is to check in to a couple’s suite at the Honeymoon Hotel in Pennsylvania alone and armed with nothing but a camera, a suitcase full of wigs, a number of questionable-looking beauty devices and a can of foreign hot dogs, then you’ve found a kindred spirit in Juno Calypso. “It was awkward,” she says. The London-based photographer captured our hearts and that dark place in our minds that’s usually devoted to Stanley Kubrick and Cindy Sherman with her last series back in 2013. That was when we first met Joyce, her alter-ego.
“I build sets and create scenes for her,” Juno explains on her website, “imaginary bedrooms in which I perform critical studies into modern rites of seduction and beauty, and the laboured construction of femininity. Objects once perceived as radical, innovative, fun and nutritious – an electronic anti-wrinkle mask, computer equipment from the 1980s, baby oil, a tin of cold meat – have become joyless and oppressive. Joyce appears alone, consumed by artifice; her glazed appearance acting as a mirror to the exhaustion felt whilst bearing the dead weight of constructed femininity.”
Joyce might be the kind of woman you wouldn’t want to leave your kids with, but Juno’s photographs of her, meticulously staged and doused in sinister kitsch, are a magnificent exercise in self-portraiture – she walks the fine line between fact and fiction with an admirable charisma.