It is with great excitement that I announce the date for my first solo show. The opening night for my 365wordgirl exhibition will take place on the 5th of May in my studio warehouse home The Space and is an associated event and part of HeadOn Photo Festival. For those that aren’t familiar with 365wordgirl, here’s the low-down.
365wordgirl is a self portrait photographic project with a twist. 365wordgirl invited visitors to enter random words thus forming the basis of 52 self portraits. Each portrait uses 7 words in the order entered. 365wordgirl is a journey of self discovery via the words of random people from all corners of the globe.
For me it’s a fantastic way to visually explain a lot of the themes that are still relevant to my work today and also illustrate the importance of self discovery and self love. My self portrait project taught me a lot both technically and personally. It allowed me to see my limits and challenge them, face my fears and embrace vulnerability with gusto. It is essentially what made me return to photography in a serious way and made me fall in love with digital photography far deep than with film. Don’t get me wrong I love my film/darkroom days at university, but the digital realm and it’s infinite possibilities keep me inspired everyday.
They say that the best camera is the one that you carry with you and I guess the same can be said about models. This is why many artists both male and female have turned to self portraiture as an outlet for their expression. It’s only in recent times that the self portrait or selfie has had a bad wrap. I wholeheartedly embrace and encourage the selfie, especially because it’s the first time in history that individuals have had such control and freedom allowing them to present themselves to the world in their own image.
Speaking as a woman, I also find it incredibly important to see or represent ourselves in our own image rather than that of the male gaze. As females, we are generally conditioned from birth to present ourselves in a way that fits a narrow definition of what girls and women should look like and how they should hold themselves, talk, act, and smile. We could no doubt say the same about both cis genders (and of course, the all non-binary genders and the challanges they face with these cis-centric narrow ideals) , but I speak here from my experience.
Self portraiture is the perfect outlet for discovering just how to un-do all this programming. Presenting yourself as you see you (whatever that might mean to each person) is one of the ultimate vehicles of empowerment. Of course, daily selfies in front of the same bathroom mirror might seem a little boring and perhaps vain, but I envision a better world because of the self portrait. That daily bathroom selfie might be the only thing that motivates someone to get out of bed in the morning, she might finally realise that all those people that say she is beautiful are right. And with this seemingly superficial validation, she may just feel good enough to go out and achieve whatever it is that she doubted she could before.
Young people especially need to feel empowered and have a great sense of self love. It can only make the world a better place. With youth suicide rates alarmingly high, I think there are worse things to see on your social media feed than a smiling (or duck) face. The more people taking selfies, the more normalised diversity becomes. It’s part of our grassroots battle against mainstream media and their narrow ideals of beauty, perfection and average. So I encourage you to share your image with the world, have fun with it and embrace you!
If you are in Sydney I hope you can make it on the 5th of May for opening night. 365wordgirl continues until the 8th and is open daily from 10-6pm at The Space – 282 Wyndham St, Alexandria.