Again– warning, post contains nudity.
It’s about an honesty that we miss in our everyday life. We live our lives trying to be as adequate and enough as we can be, trying to fit in this social construct. The photos are about having the courage of being who we are, accepting our worst flaws, and the question: What if we were more honest about this ugliness we try to cover up?
They reflect my current outlook on life – how the good and the bad are always entwined and that the result is a beauty that’s not easy to look at. Even the most fundamental thing as love can come with so much pain and confusion. What makes us feel alive has the power to break us, too, and there’s a beauty in this ambiguity of things.
We don’t want to stand out, so bury our truths behind masks, only visible for our most trusted friends because we’re afraid of getting hurt or hurting others. But is it really better to cover up the truth? What happens if we stopped hiding it, no matter how ugly it might be?
We weren’t born brave. We become brave by tackling issues that freak us out, by not backing down when we want to run away, by learning to be stronger than our impulses. Showing weakness is a sign of bravery. It’s a statement: Here I am, completely, not hiding any longer.
My photos should reflect the honesty of my words.
– An excerpt of the artist statement my mentor told me to write for my personal work last month. I wrote it in a late night train, in a bout of frustration with the society we live in. I had to hand it in before having the time to edit it, so the text stayed a raw first draft.
“I immediately thought of self-portraits when I read your artist statement”, my mentor tells me the next day. I wish she’d say something else – that I could create the work I want with others, too. My texts are always about me. But I don’t want to be self-absorbed, so I wanted my photography to involve other people. But she’s right, what I care about right now is so personal I’m the one who is best at expressing it. So I do.
Talking to her made me rethink everything and led to an ‘identity crisis’, but things have settled and I feel a new drive. I’ve been pushing myself more. There’s an honesty that wants to break free both in my everyday life and in front of the camera. I’m still not sure where this is heading, but I’ve been letting go of the desire to be beautiful on photos. And it feels good.
Why are we so bad at communicating our truths? Be it our feelings, needs or intentions. Instead we choose to take the socially accepted way. Don’t share too much, don’t give people the possibility to hurt you. Keep things superficial, be fun. I’ve tried so hard to fit in, always feeling too much or too intense. But this is not me. I’m so tired of being afraid. I long for more honesty in my life. Yes, it’s hard and makes you feel horribly vulnerable, but how are we supposed to connect if we keep the thoughts and feelings that matter most to us a secret?
And yes, sometimes it needs alcohol. Or second chances. But I realise more and more how I can’t stand myself whenever I give in to society’s constraints and people’s expectations. I have to create my own path.
Life feels like a tightrope walk on some days. My feelings are wild, messy and exhausting; I’m still struggling with some issues I thought were resolved. I spend a lot of time with people. Strangers open up, let their guard down and within hours there’s a trust and emotional intimacy that wasn’t there before and we part ways as friends.
It freaks me out, sometimes. I tend to lose myself in other people. It’s so much easier to connect when you don’t have walls holding you back. And yet it’s part of this human experience, I’m trying to embrace the unexpected, let it challenge me. I don’t want to shy away from things that scare me, from intensity, from confusion. Life is too short to give in to fears.
In the last couple of months I’ve been sharing lots of my work on Instagram, neglecting my blog, you. But today I want to publish some photos here first. You guys have always been so supportive and your feedback on my first self-portrait post was so lovely, the least I can do is give you something like an ‘exclusive preview’ of some unshared work :)
These self-portraits are based on Francesca Woodman’s photos. My mentor showed her work to me and it was love at first sight.
Have a lovely weekend and take care, my dears x