2411 Mason Avenue, Las Vegas, Nevada, year 2014. A palm-lined, sunny suburban street. A car pulls up to a bungalow driveway. A man gets out, walks a few steps, and presses a button. The doorbell rings. Footsteps. A young woman opens the door. They make eye contact and exchange a handful of sentences.
He’s looking for his ex-girlfriend who used to live there. She shakes her head. The car drives off, only to return a few minutes later. He asks another question, she says no again. A few days later, a typewritten love letter arrives. So the story begins.
In the letter, the writer offers the woman, who as an “Austrian girl” exudes an exotic attraction for him, his deeply clichéd and materialistic version of the American Dream. His writing style, argumentation, and articulated value systems are unadorned. Besides a consumptionoriented lifestyle centered around growth and excess, the letter expresses a conservative image of women. The woman, attributed with diverse characteristics, is seen as a unique specimen, which, following the logic of accumulation, is there to be conquered and added to his inventory of objects.
Rather than acquiescing to the role of a passive object, Stefanie Moshammer began to confront the unusual situation actively through the camera’s lens—looking back at him in the process, in a reversal of the subject-object relationship. In an act of visual self-definition, she counters Troy’s fantasies with a pictorial composition that unites several perspectives in a narrative space that she controls. The series derives its tension from the triangular constellation of the photographer, her antagonist Troy, and the viewers, who follow their roleplays and games of hide-and-seek that oscillate between fact and fiction from an observer’s perspective.