Early Self Portraits

In 2014 I really started focusing on psychological self-portraits. I was going through a lot of immense changes that year: I broke up with my boyfriend, got back into theatre, and lost my teaching job. After a string of horrifying experiences in central Pennsylvania, I had the beautiful opportunity to start over in NYC. In the meantime, before I knew for sure what my path would be, I started looking at the work of performance artists Carolee Schneemann and Frank Tovey, doing more daring portraits, exploring how I could use my own body to express my feelings, and bringing the idea of performance art to still photos. I knew I wanted to be more provocative, but felt very contained, observed and judged in central PA.

I also felt certain that I needed to be completely comfortable in front of a camera before I could expect others to be, too. That included learning to be perfectly comfortable in the body that currently contains my consciousness. I stopped being self-deprecating and began to really appreciate what I’d overcome. I had to unlearn years of conditioning as to what beauty means, and be more mindful of physical expression through movement and pantomime. I had a background in dance, theatre and even juggling, but performance art always seemed too esoteric for my tastes in the past. Eventually once I came to understand what it really was, it became the biggest vehicle for expression through some of the most volatile times I’ve ever experienced in my life.

I’m proud of my physical form, and what it’s endured: illnesses, immense stress, being hit by an SUV, many scars and injuries, walking thousands of miles, lifting and carrying so much, dance, the many miles I’ve biked. I’m only going to be in this form a little while longer until I die and move to the next vessel, so why not just be present?

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