In the first of a series of female positive Close Ups in the run up to the GIRL TOWN exhibition in Tel Aviv, we've invited Amanda Eatwell to share her recent photo project Self.
Shutter Hub member Amanda Eatwell has been working within the field of photography for over twenty years, but with industry changes and motherhood she found the need to increase her offering, and now offers others not only photography tuition, but is also a BoxingYoga™ coach! Amanda contacted us recently to let us know about a new project she was about to launch publicly, a series of self portraits documenting the many and varied aspects of her life. We loved the work and wanted to share it more widely – so here's Amanda to talk you through her project Self, in her own words…
At the beginning of 2017 I found myself without a photography project. I had plenty brewing in my head, and I was waiting for warmer weather to embark on one project in particular. So, in light of a muse of my own I turned the camera on myself.
I do not come from an arty or educated family, I didn’t go to university and I had a couple of life-changing experiences in my twenties, which meant things turned quite serious at a young age. All in all I feel I never got the space or opportunity to ‘find myself’. There were times when I was younger that I felt nearer that point, but it’s only in the past four years or so that I have found the space to reflect and get to know myself again. It’s been very enlightening!
I’m attempting to become more daring in my work, and I feel like this project is the furthest I’ve got.
I am fascinated by duality and human behaviour. I truly believe you can be two things at once, and for me the sense of fear and excitement are a great catalyst for growth. I play this out in life, but have struggled in applying it to my work (I would be very interested to learn of anyone else’s experience or if this makes any sense?!)
The collection itself was not pre-conceived. I just picked up my camera when I felt there was an opportunity. Because I was photographing myself there were many!
It became quite addictive, because it was fun and challenging. From a technical point of view some of the shots were hard to achieve, especially the one of my arms and also in the bathroom, as it was very steamy!
It’s inevitable that with a self-portrait project some of our own preferences will influence the work. There are parts I have chosen not to focus on, but on the whole it’s an honest portrayal of a part of my life. I spend a lot of time on my own which I describe as alone, not lonely. I like to write, and where I feel it fits, have words running alongside the pictures. Sometimes from music, sometimes philosophy, and others my own writing; all things from which I find solace and inspiration.
I didn’t want this to be an exercise in scrutinising my body or in making myself up to look ‘good’. I am quite at ease with my aesthetic. Sometimes I think I look good, sometimes I think I look crap, but I never hold on to these thoughts.
We live in a society where looks are counted as important markers, and of course I might look at someone and have a fleeting thought of how their shoes are dirty or their hair looks nice, but it’s not a reflection of what is coming out of their mouth or how they conduct themselves. I have chosen to be exposed in this way, and I know the audience will be small, and hopefully kind.
I have a distinct lack of interest in all the pouty selfies that you see on social media, partly because I am no good at pouting, but partly because it’s a shame young people feel the need to promote themselves through their looks, not their achievements. This is a wider issue. I am a 43-year-old woman who has carried a baby and lives a hectic life. I think these pictures reflect that.
All images © Amanda Eatwell.
You can see the full series of Amanda's project Self on her website, here.
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