Almost all our images are ready to be printed! And it’s not long now until the exhibition opens at Oxford Place.
Love Arts Festival launches on 7th October at The Light in Leeds city centre. Our exhibition is part of the Arts Trail, No. 17 on the map of which you can see below:
You can see the full programme here.
The last session we had at Studio 12, we explored expression and how unique our faces are. We took hundreds of photos, first using the shutter release cable, so we could choose when we wanted to pose, and then later acting out emotions to scenarios we shouted out to each other.
It was a fun session, and even a reluctant member, who was adamant that she wasn’t going to get in front of the camera, surprised herself with how much enjoyment she was having.
Being confident in ones body doesn’t have to stop at the perfect smile and retouched images, being confident is owning your face, letting go, and living. We all have little flaws, but aren’t they the very things that make us unique and special? I have an odd face, but it is an expressive face, one with warm caring eyes.
I started the Self Portrait project back in July, working with Together Women Leeds. It has been a slow process, for a variety of reasons, my own ill health being just one of them. But there is one thing I am learning from this project, and that is developing my own self confidence.
The workshop has covered topics such as positive body image, improving self worth, looking at perspective, positive affirmations; autobiographical writing, using timelines, ten memories for significant moments in life, and 3 line life story. The purpose for all these workshops was to encourage self worth, to encourage the idea that all the hardship and bad mistakes we may make in life, only build us up to be the people we become. Finding the good in ourselves, seeing life from others eyes as well as our present eyes, giving ourselves positive affirmations everyday. And take all those negative occurrences and beliefs, and treat them as a story, a memory, from the past, that belongs in the past.
We also looked at different ways we could create our self portraits. Maybe a memory from the past, seen in a different perspective. Recreating childhood photographs. Decorating the image to mirror uniqueness.
The workshop visited Studio 12 at Leeds Central Library, where we took studio shots, with the students directing themselves and how they wanted to portray themselves. The students really seemed to get a lot out of being in front of the camera and from using the camera and lights. One of the comments I received was how before the workshop started, she didn’t think she’d feel so at ease in front of the camera, and feels a lot more confident.
The emphasis has been on being ourselves, and creating something personal that will represent us. I have been against retouching images (removing scars, lines, wrinkles, folds, etc), because the study is producing work that celebrates who we are, as we are.
The workshop is continuing for a few more weeks, before being displayed as part of Love Arts Leeds 2015
Below are links to some of the resources I have used.
- 9 Facts that Disprove Stereotypes about Fat People
- Let Fat People be Happy
- Taking Action on Body Image – government paper
- What is Body Image
- The Underpants Rule
- Happiness Action Pack – includes Acts of Kindness
- Positive Affirmations
- Writing as Therapy
- Healthy Place – visual quotes (Pinterest Board)
A slideshow of the images I used to illustrate self portraiture opened up much discussion as to what constitutes a self portrait. It is open to much interpretation as the self portrait is uniquely self driven.
I have had two meetings since initial conception. And things are already moving ahead!
Make It Happen is the 2015 theme for International Women’s Day, encouraging effective action for advancing and recognising women. I intend to Make it Happen, with my own work and with the help of the women of Leeds, with that in mind I have decided to focus on the theme of the Self Portrait.
I will be facilitating a series of workshops, which will be delivered to existing women’s groups, and as drop in sessions, to work on this theme. Looking at what constitutes a self portrait, self portraits in a historical and social context, and how we deliver our stories visually.
The workshops will also have an element of writing, to accompany the stories we engage.
The workshops will be developed to celebrate achievements of women, no matter how small, and recognise themselves as strong women, and to give others hope. As a woman, this is something I often find a challenge, recognising my own strengths and achievements, I am hoping that this project will allow my own personal journey to continue and to finally believe, that “Yes, I can!”