Self-portraiture as Catharsis

My photography is a form of therapy, a personal, emotional and sometimes turbulent struggle with the complexity of emotions. I feel my life and art have become intertwined and to bury this mental state deep within would only allow it to thrive but through my use of photography, I am offered a sense of catharsis.

My self-depictions manifest within the same four walls, my bedroom. The room I believe is the keeper of my trapped and repressed emotions. This often heavily constructed interior transcends into an extension of self, becoming a mental space in which I am able to explore these often deep-rooted emotions in front of the cameras intimate and direct gaze.

Photography of a past era

I have always been interested in photography of a past era, feeling almost a sense of displacement within this digitally driven age, in which we now live. I'm particularly interested in photography of the Victorian period and because of this influence, many of my photographs are intimately hand coloured. Hand colouring allows me to add further layers of emotion and pain upon the surface of the gelatin silver print until the image is born, alluding to the tactile and sensory nature of my self-portraiture.

An affinity with black and white film

I have a particular affinity with 35mm black and white film. The small scale of the negative and the fact there is plenty of frames, so I feel able to lose myself within my work without needing to reload the film. I then develop and print the negatives in a traditional darkroom; my prints are often small thus intimate in scale, as to emphasise my underlying fragility. There is something about the characteristics of black and white film, its poetic nature and the way in which it can so easily evoke notions of the gothic, enhancing and alluding to the very dark and evocative nature of my work. I particularly like the look and feel of Ilford’s HP5 Plus film. Working with natural light, this high-speed film emphasises the depth of the emotions I am portraying, allowing me to feel at one with my medium.

A sensory nature

I feel there is a tactile, sensory and even meditative nature of traditional photographic methods. The hands-on intimacy that is only possible with film. This means I not only have an intimate and emotional connection to my work and its explored concepts but an intimacy, affinity, and love of my materials. Part of this intimacy allows me to enter into a meditative-like state. Enabling me to explore my often repressed and sometimes painful emotions in front of the camera, the most intimate mode of looking. At the moment of exposure, it’s as if I can feel my anguish being interwoven even burned onto the negative. My emotions, pain and memories that were confined, explored and performed for the camera, are now forever frozen in time.

Wallflower 7 2015 gelatin silver print

Wallflower 7 2015 gelatin silver print

Wallflower 6 2015 gelatin silver print

Wallflower 6 2015 gelatin silver print

All images ©Corrine Perry