Jaymee Louise - Self Portraits

Sometimes photography feels like the only thing that makes sense in this world. After being inspired by photographer Francesca Woodman during my last year of college and spending most of my lunch breaks in the darkroom I found myself heading in a direction that was meant to be.

I spent some time studying Woodman throughout my Diploma year in 2012. From this I developed a self portrait project which was majorly influenced by her work.

Self Portrait by Francesca Woodman
Self Portrait by Francesca Woodman

These self portraits are based on past and present memories or feelings.

born in 93
born in 93
born in 98
born in 98
sisters
sisters

These are the very beginning chapters of my life. Obviously my birth in 1993, then 5 years later my sister was born.

Creating these 3 portraits was done all in camera, no photoshop involved here! To get these effects I photographed through a fish tank which I added food colouring to. I also used a little bit of off camera flash, pointing the unit towards my lens.

a place i remember you by
a place i remember you by

When I was 5 years old my Nana passed away. I didn't understand why and I found it so unfair. This self portrait is taken at the beach where I would stay with Nana and Grandad during the summer holidays.

Some photographers are taught to not point their lens towards the sun, I do the opposite and let the light right in.

nightmares
nightmares

After watching the movie Twister as a child I  had nightmares about tornadoes taking my family away from me and being left all alone in the world.

This image was a lot of fun! I have a contemporary dance background which meant I was able to create movement in the images. To get the deep blue reflections I pointed my flash towards the water.

i was only 12 years old
i was only 12 years old

I liked a boy at age twelve. At that age I thought I would never get over him, but I did of course.

i remember the way your eyes looked
i remember the way your eyes looked

I remember the night my cat Nemo was hit by a car. It was not a happy ending, once again a situation that felt so unfair.

For this self portrait I set my camera and lay near the spot on the road where I found him. I used a narrow DOF and lifted my body as the slow shutter went off.

he came into our world as you said goodbye
he came into our world as you said goodbye

My life changed at age 15. I was so surprised and shocked when Mum and Dad told us they were expecting a baby. At the time my Grandad on Dad's side of the family was ill with kidney failure. Grandad fought to see my baby brother for the first and last time, a week after he was born Grandad passed away.

This location is one tree hill, a significant spot on our family's farm. My brother is about 4 years old here. By using a slow shutter speed I got him to run towards me. We had lots of fun.

we are but numbers here
we are but numbers here

At age 14 I was attending a public school that was not doing my attitude or education any favours. It was definitely time for a change.

I went on a landscape trip, however landscape is not really my thing so I would find myself exploring forests away from where everyone else was shooting so I could make self portraits.

new beginnings
new beginnings

Since public school wasn't working out I left my family to attend a private school 7 hours away. This was a performing arts school where I danced full time as well as studied for Cambridge University Examinations. My plan was to be a professional dancer, however passions changed and this is where I discovered photography.

revenge
revenge

In my last year of private school I was in a long distance relationship, 7 hours away by car. Once I got my university entrance I started studying photography in the same city he was in. I thought that since we were finally together we could be happy, yet it got worse and all the truth came out. When I said that I could forgive him.. I really couldn't and leaving him was the best thing I did for both of us.

Movement is a key theme in these portraits, this being a great example. Here I have also pointed my flash towards my lens.

we all secretly want love
we all secretly want love

After the break up It got lonely sometimes...

Here I wrapped myself up in sheets and rolled around the bed. I placed red material over my lens to create a romantic and erotic image.

i've been here before
i've been here before

.. but when I had someone I couldn't let myself go. I realised that I just needed to be on my own for a little bit.

life hasn't felt like this before
life hasn't felt like this before

I was trying to work life out. I had to learn how to be independent again and experience a normal teenage life without someone controlling my every move. I needed to be free.

i don't remember us
i don't remember us

Time meant progress. Finally I was free from all of those memories that had me stuck.

In these two images I used an aperture of f2.4 and pointed light from a lamp straight into my lens.

get out of this dark place!
get out of this dark place!

I knew I had to make some life changes and try my best to let go of all the negativity I was carrying. It wasn't my place to feel angry anymore. I needed to learn how to trust people again and set my priorities straight.

Sunset, slow shutter and movement.

strenght

strenght

This was the very last image of my book, I don't really need to explain. Self portraiture helped me work through some of the ups and downs.