The idea for this self portrait came from discussing all the things I have glued to my face with a friend of mine. I’m not sure why I have done this so many times, but I have a back catalogue of images of myself with things glued to my face. One image in particular was taken back in March 2011, where I decided to stick rose petals to my face. I told my friend that I never really liked the photo all that much but still thought the concept was rad.
Looking back at 2011, I wasn’t happy at this time but kept putting on a happy face and didn’t really know how to talk about how I was feeling. However, I was able to capture the essence or mood for how I was feeling through photography. I used how I was feeling to inspire my photography. I took a lot of self portraits during this time (almost fitting in a self portrait session once every couple of weeks - or sometimes more!) and it truly fulfilled me, allowing me to feel relaxed, creative and happy. Like a wave of calm washed over me and my emotions. Taking self portraits allowed me to reconnect with myself on a spiritual level. Interestingly, this feeling still occurs when I take self portraits today.
After chatting with my friend, she suggested that I recreate the old self portrait with the rainbow flowers which she got me for my birthday. My exact response to this was, “Yeeeeeahhh! I just might do that! I’d be a freaking unicorn! Ha!”. So, I took the flowers and glued them to my face. The petals were in a variety of vivid colours including, turquoise, pink, purple and white. I decided to keep it simple and use just two colours; turquoise and white. The previous self portrait was dark, moody and brooding. I wanted the new self portrait to be a bit more vibrant, reflecting on how much happier and content I am with my life, as though the flower had grown and finally bloomed (woohoo!). Shooting outside in an open space represented the space where I needed to grow and learn how to care for myself (like a little plant!). I got incredibly muddy taking these photos, but I didn’t mind. In fact, I believe the mud serves as a reason to always get stuck in and persevere through the rough times. Strength, sassiness and a touch of whimsy; these are the three moods I wanted to capture in the new self portraits. Here are a selection of my favourites…
Happiness, for me, is holding my camera in my hands, expressing myself creatively through the images I take. This is something that has never changed. Eight years ago, photography was escapism. Now, photography has become my life and I adore every minute of it. What has this self portrait experience taught me? Never doubt the importance of self care and creativity :)