I thought it was time to turn the tables. As a photographer I am always focusing on other people. I have never really looked at myself through the lens. So in celebration of ‘selfies’ and some serious self exploration I took a series of photos of myself baring my all. I wanted to defragment myself. Pull it all apart and piece it all together again. I was surprised at my reaction. I started to feel uncomfortable and started picking on all the negative things about my body. I often come across this when I’m shooting other people but I didn’t think I would do it to myself. I also started to see myself as other people might see me. Am I male or female? Is gender really important? Why do I have to be one or the other?
I was bought up to be a “good greek girl”. I learned how to cook and clean and look my best at all times. It was important to keep a good appearance, we don’t want other people judging us or talking about us. I was also groomed to find the perfect husband. My mother was constantly on my case about my appearance and my beautiful long hair. I always had to look good just in case I met “Mr Right”. I always rebelled against this and was a “tomboy”. This frustrated my mother but she continued to buy me pretty dresses that I never wore. When I eventually moved away and started living my own life I still struggled with my sexuality and my gender. I dreamt of being a boy. Boys were so lucky, they didn’t have any responsibilities and they could do and wear what they liked. They didn’t have to get married and have babies and have the “perfect” life. I finally took the plunge and shaved most of my hair off when I turned 35. I finally started to feel like I was living my own life and I was becoming true to who I really was. I remember when I told my mother that I cut my hair she said “how short did you cut it?' I said "really short”, she then went on to say “that was the only thing you had left”.
I suppose this series is for my mother. I want her to see the real me. I know I didn’t turn out the way she wanted to me and I’m not “beautiful” in her eyes. But in some way I am, but in a fractured type of way. I want to show women and men that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If you don’t love yourself first then no one will. Funny that, my mum taught me that expression.
For ‘Fractured Beauty’ Exhibition curated by Louise Brand, Wollongong City Gallery
Type art, photography, portraiture, gender, beauty, fractured beauty