One shot | Kristine Lee: ‘I took this photo to remind myself of my own confidence, strength, and grace’

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Serenity in my own chaos, 2017 © Kristine Lee

San Francisco-based self-portraitist Kristine Lee shares the thinking behind her recent work, Serenity in my own chaos

I grew up pursuing journalism; I love telling true stories. Along the way, I met inspiring people who opened my eyes to photography, and taught me how to use photography as a tool to show people my perspective of the world. My self-portraiture is an exploration of how I want to define myself, and what my values are. I particularly enjoy showing strength in vulnerability and femininity.

I have friends whose photos touched my heart the moment I saw them, who encouraged me to pursue photography continuously and passionately. I’ve always loved the nostalgia, wanderlust, and introspection that comes with viewing a photograph, and I wanted to create art that makes people feel what I feel, and see what I see.

Serenity in my own chaos is about finding moments of peace and solace in times of overwhelming depression. It’s about taking a breath to recognise how far you’ve come, and knowing that overcoming and taking control of the chaos leads to triumph. I took this photo to remind myself of my own confidence, strength, and grace, and to prove to myself I hadn’t lost my sense of identity.

Follow Kristine’s self-portraiture on Instagram and Flickr – and share your work with us using the tag #selfportraitmag on Instagram now

Q&A with Jessica Lichon: ‘I hate being in public visibly taking self-portraits’

Burn this world

Burn this world, 2015 © Jessica Lichon

selfPortrait meets Canada-based professional photographer Jessica Lichon

Tell us about living in the Okanagan Valley. 
It’s a beautiful valley located in the interior of British Columbia, Canada. There are a ton of outdoor activities in the valley. Thanks to living in the Okanagan I have grown into an outdoorsy person. I love outdoor sports, especially independent sports that you can still enjoy with others. From numerous hiking trails with breathtaking views, biking on the infinite KVR trail, longboarding on wide roads, paddleboarding on Okanagan lake on a hot summer’s day, skating on the free icerink in downtown Kelowna, and my favourite, snowboarding in champagne powder, there are an infinite number of ways to enjoy the outdoors all year long.

How does it compare to the city for you? 
Cities are wonderfully scary. I always admire the architecture of the city skyline, but I mostly enjoy visiting the city for the variety of delicious restaurants. Living in a massive city would be challenging for me; the lifestyle is completely different, and it just doesn’t suit me at the moment. Not being able to quickly escape into the outdoors would be so foreign to me.

 

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Lichon, 2017 © Jessica Lichon

Describe your daily life for us. How does it shift over the seasons?
A couple of years ago my day-to day life was a mixture of school and photography adventures. Since graduating from the University of British Columbia, my life has been a joyful blur. Presently, my day-to-day life is difficult to describe. I don’t have a typical schedule. As a self-employed photographer, I find that my life revolves around the seasons. In the summer months, my focus is on my business. The winter months are a completely different story – business is extremely slow, and my business goal is to attract wedding clients for the summer. Other than that, I’m in the mountains snowboarding on powder days.

 

The Anticipation

The anticipation, 2017 © Jessica Lichon

What are some of the challenges you face when making your self-portraits?
Here are my top 7 challenges:
1. Creating a concept. I want my concepts to be my own idea, or at least be different in some aspect.
2. Packing for the shoot. Packing everything for the shoot to be lightweight, or at least manageable enough to carry everything around; thinking about the proper costume for the shoot; knowing and preparing for the weather conditions; packing all the essential camera gear. I have on a couple occasions forgotten my tripod plate….those are incredibly frustrating experiences.
3. Scouting a location. A particular location might be wonderful but something else might be more enchanting. Additionally, the lighting and time of day matters.
4. Hiding from the public. I hate being in public visibly taking self-portraits. I have become really good at finding locations that are semi-private with sick views.
5. Self-love. I love myself the majority of the time. My screen cover is a picture of myself…although looking at myself can be difficult at times.
6. Being in focus. This is more of an issue with my winter self-portraits. Trekking in the extreme cold in the snow to then find out my picture is out of focus in the viewfinder…now that’s frustrating!
7. Motivation: The biggest problem is lacking the motivation to go outside to shoot because of the challenges described above.

 

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Sombrio Beach, 2017 © Jessica Lichon

When you are out in the wilderness taking self-portraits, are you usually working solo?
Yes and no. I have many self-portraits that I’ve taken completely alone in the wilderness. Then I have self-portraits from adventuring in the woods with my photographer friends. There have also been a few times where I needed my boyfriend or my mother to assist me in taking a few pictures.

 

Spinning out of control

Spinning out of control, 2016 © Jessica Lichon

How has your self-portraiture evolved in the past four years? What first drew you to taking photos of yourself?
Initially, other fine art photographers inspired me to take self-portraits. It was also a good solution to people not being available on demand. My first self-portraits were brutal, and I deleted most of them from the internet. In the beginning, I loved to experiment with Photoshop techniques…I used to stare at my pictures and admire them for way too long. I lost that connection to my images a long time ago, but maybe I’ll find it again.

 

End of the dream, 2016 © Jessica Lichon

If you lost all your possessions and you could save one self-portrait of your own, which would It be, and why?
I would have to say End of the dream. I heard about a forest fire happening at Shelter Cove on the radio after school one day; I looked at my backseat and I had everything in my car to take a self-portrait. At the time, I was recovering from my ACL surgery, and had just started walking again without crutches. The conditions were perfect for an incredible sunset and, after setting the tripod in the water, I decided the picture would look best if I got low into the water. I basically almost drowned taking this self-portrait. My knee had limited mobility. A wave pushed me and I raised my arm up to protect my remote trigger from the water, so the photograph looks genuine and beautiful. I honestly love this picture.

Discover more about Jessica’s photography on Flickr, Instagram and her website – and tell us what you make of her work on Twitter with the tag #selfportraitmag

One shot | Kurraudea: ‘I wanted to create something that shows the fragility of the human body’

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untitled, 2016 © Kurraudea

Photographer Kurraudea presents an untitled work exploring our physical fragility

My name is Claudia, I’m 27 years old and I’m based in Belgium.

I first started exploring photography when I was around 19, some 8 years ago.

My work mostly consists of self-portraits with a melancholic tone.

In this photograph I wanted to create something that shows the fragility of the human body, as well as how expressive it can be. I used real wax and a real flame to create this picture.

Find more of Claudia’s photography on Flickr

Profile | Evija: ‘Sometimes I feel like I’m experimenting with myself, being more of an observer of my own life’

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nostalgia, 2017 © Evija

Latvian-born photographer Evija talks moving to the UK, self-acceptance and the influence of others

Evija is a photographer from a small town in Latvia, currently living in London. Having yearned to experience life in the UK as a student, she moved to the city a few years ago: ‘I remember feeling like it was the place I was meant to be…’ she explains, ‘I imagined myself being in the UK a lot, and my longing to come here grew for months. I moved here after high school, and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made.’

Back in around 2008, Evija’s father bought a Sony a300 DSLR camera for a joint family Christmas gift, and she was the person who took greatest interest in using it. ‘I began taking photos of everything and everyone, never daring to point the camera at myself,’ she says, ‘but when the camera became my own, my interest in photography increased further, and in my teens I began taking self-portraits. As I grew up being shy and quiet, going out into nature with the camera felt like a natural thing to do.’

 

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you, 2017 © Evija

‘Then came self exploration: a photo journey of my life
in small parts – struggles, hurt, confusion, feeling lost,
but also, serenity, acceptance, nostalgia’

Having started out in photography with an interest in still-life and macro, Evija soon found that nature looked beautiful in both macro and wider angles, so spent a long time fascinated by landscape photography. ‘Like a thought process, I started with the small details and kept going on, adding something in each time, spreading it wider and just keeping curious as to how far I could go without thinking about a specific end result,’ she says.

From here, Evija turned to taking photographs of herself, ‘Then came self exploration: a photo journey of my life in small parts – struggles, hurt, confusion, feeling lost, but also, serenity, acceptance, nostalgia. I’d say my work has evolved as I have grown to accept myself and look at different things.’

 

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the whispers in my head, 2013 © Evija

Today, Evija uses a Canon 60D with a 50mm 1.8 lens that she’s experimented with for years. ‘I used to have a tripod and remote control for outdoor portraits, but now that I have less free time I’ve stuck to indoor portraits, with a stretch of the hand,’ she explains.

Raw beauty in nature is one of Evija’s greatest inspirations, as is music and anything which leaves her inspired to dig deeper, but her encounters with people impact her work most deeply: ‘I’ve been inspired to put out some work due to having shared a common thought or feeling with someone else – a friend, a relative, even a stranger. Just knowing, that we all feel these things at certain times and sharing it with others, seeing the response, inspires me.’

‘I could even say I depend on my feelings to make
me turn on the camera and give into it.’

 

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focus, 2017 © Evija

A ‘nagging feeling’ draws Evija to produce the atmospheric close-up self-portraiture we share here today. We ask her about any upcoming projects, and she explains that this work ‘comes when it comes. I never plan a photo for myself – in fact, I could even say I depend on my feelings to make me turn on the camera and give into it. I prefer it to come naturally.’ She continues, ‘Sometimes I feel like I’m experimenting with myself, being more of an observer of my own life.’

Discover more about Evija and her work on Flickr, and see 2018’s 10 to watch feature for selfPortrait‘s top artists to keep an eye on this year

 

Newsflash | Faisal Abdu’Allah at Autograph ABP

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Faisal Abdu’Allah, The Duppy Conqueror (I, II & III), Jacquard tapestry, 2017

We explore a photo triptych currently on show at Autograph ABP, London, by British visual artist Faisal Abdu’Allah

Above is a glimpse of a new series of photo tapestries titled The Duppy Conqueror by Faisal Abdu’Allah, which appear for the first time within his solo exhibition, The Duppy Conqueror & Other Works, this season. 

Here, Abdu’Allah’s masked alter-ego represents a figure who defies and conquers a ‘duppy’ – an evil ghost or spirit in Jamaican tradition.

The conqueror, as a malevolent supernatural being, highlights the genocidal nature of violence against the black body, and the ongoing struggle with ghosts or spectres from the past, conjured by a hostile world dominated by ignorance and deception.

‘Physical and mental turbulence haunt his practice,
and photography as a tool for capture serves his
desire to reframe the past and make tangible the present’

Mark Sealy, curator and director of Autograph ABP comments, ‘The human subject for Abdu’Allah is either bewildered, traumatised, dead or resurrected. Physical and mental turbulence haunt his practice, and photography as a tool for capture serves his desire to reframe the past and make tangible the present.’

The show features a series of sculptural works by the artist, along with other photo tapestries, photo etchings and wallpapers.

Abdu’Allah is Associate Professor of Art and Faculty Director of UW-Madison’s Creative Arts Community, The Studio, and has won numerous grants and awards, including the prestigious Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors grant.

Autograph ABP was established in 1988 with the mission of advocating the inclusion of historically marginalised photographic practices. As a charity, the organisation works internationally in photography and film, cultural identity, race, representation and human rights.

The Duppy Conqueror & Other Works is on show at Autograph ABP, London, until 14 March 2018. Discover more at autograph-abp.co.uk

Hello, lovely readers

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Self-portrait by Danielle Mari Terblanche, recently #selfportrait of the week on our Instagram. Copyright the artist.

Well, it’s been over a month since we launched here on WordPress, and we’ve been overwhelmed by your support. Thank you.

Today is a special day as WordPress has kindly recognised the magazine’s digital launch by interviewing the editor of selfPortrait – Katherine Caddy – in an exclusive Q&A. To learn more about us, you can check it out here.

We look forward to bringing you more beautiful stories in the weeks ahead, and wish you an excellent February.

~sP

P.S. Don’t forget you can tap into our extra content and power our first issue’s launch by becoming a member of our Patreon community

One shot | Anthony Clark: Rain on me

Anthony Clark, Rain on Me

Rain on me, 2011 © Anthony Clark

Michigan-based amateur photographer Anthony Clark reflects on a deeply personal self-portrait

I’ve lived in Michigan all my life, but travelled extensively in the US and Canada since I was a kid. My job is mundane, uninteresting, and unimportant. It pays the bills. I’m also a private pilot of both single engine aeroplanes and gliders. I got interested in flying from my dad when I was three years old.

I first became interested in photography during my travels with my grandparents. We photographed everywhere we went with a Kodak Instamatic. I made my own pinhole camera with plans in the Free Stuff for Kids book in the ’70s, then my uncle gave me his old Minolta when he upgraded. He taught me almost everything I know about photography, and we went on a lot of adventures together.

‘This one photo is so much of who I am’

Through the years, photography has been my release. My escape. My way of expressing my joy, sorrow, amazement, and frustration with life. I love capturing the simple beauty that exists all around us all the time that most people overlook. My favourite theme is what I call ‘unexpected beauty’; unbelievable beauty that exists in the most unexpected places and situations.

I’ve always loved the rain. Nature refreshing itself. Rain has always held an emotional connection for me. The idea that it’s going to wash away my burdens or bring hope to a situation I’ve felt trapped in. The whole experience heightens all my senses and emotions.

The visual and the auditory have always been closely linked for me. I quite often start hearing a song as I’m shooting a photo. So it was with Rain on Me. I had just returned from my cousin’s high school graduation with my aunt and uncle, and a gentle rain began to fall as we got out of the car. Cyndi Lauper’s beautiful song Rain on Me began to play in my head as I set up my camera, and my mind raced back to my own high school graduation so many years before. All my hopes and dreams and what had become of them. How my life had gone astray. I let the rain wash over me, its calming effect bringing peace and clarity. This one photo is so much of who I am.

My photography is for me and a few I choose to share it with. I’ve done very few shoots for money and only when I felt a connection to the people I was working with. The only place I have my photos displayed for the public is my Flickr page.

Are you a self-portrait photographer with something to say? Why not reach out to us?