As told to by fourth semester photography student Haleigh Foray:
It’s my job as a photographer to make my subject feel comfortable and real in front of the camera. Yet I wasn’t able to feel that way myself as a subject. So how could I ask someone to do that for me? During a six-week project I became more myself and free.
At the start of the winter break, Professor Curtis Willocks gave an assignment to our Traditional Photography (PH253) class that would be due at the start of the semester. We were to assume the role of a LIFE magazine photographer of the 1950s. Any topic was fair game, even if it had a contemporary relevance. In deciding what to capture, I kept coming back to self-portraiture.
I came across a project “Self-Untitled” by photographer Samantha Geballe. Her work explores body image through self portraits, which she states “envisions the feeling that false interpretation provokes.” She put herself forward for everyone to see, with nothing to hide — something I’ve struggled with doing. The focus of my project proposal was to be comfortable and confident in front of the camera, whether I or another photographer was taking the photographs.
“Haleigh’s work is just beautiful. Her composition, her use of light, her style. She’s very sensitive to people, always helping and assisting others, and now she’s applying that sensitivity to herself. This project gave her the chance to express herself–who she is as a young woman” – Professor Curtis Willocks
There was a musical component that set the tone of the project: “She sits beside me like a silhouette“ sings Harry Styles in a song from a recent solo album. Those words took on a special meaning for me–Silhouettes show your body.
Women are still expected to act and look a certain way in projecting their confidence and beauty that’s limiting in scope. I wanted to show that you just need to own your body for what it is now, in the present.
Photos provided by Haleigh Foray