As an art history student, I sometimes find the novelty of trips to galleries has worn off. Unfortunately, less and less do I find myself greatly moved by what I witness. This, however, was not the case when visiting Nicole Farhi’s exhibition ‘Folds’. In the Beaux Art Gallery, Farhi successfully portrayed the typical ‘faults’ of the female body as beautifully rendered pieces of art. Herfragmented sculptures of voluptuous figures not only captivated me, but inspired me to begin a new series of paintings myself. Notions surrounding the theme of ‘Eden’ seem to tie in beautifully with this intimate exploration of female figures, wherein audiences can fall in love with their own imperfections and recognise their own sense of ‘Eden’. When creating Curled, my full attention was on painting the folds in the stomach and the rough texture of the skin. The earthy tones, blended with the deep fleshy tan colours, produce a realistically honest image: authentic and unforgiving. Leaving little brush strokes visible provided an uneven skin texture, further accentuating this truthful exploration of female physicality. Ultimately, this painting organically grew from an initial push of appreciation for the female form (triggered by Farhi’s sculptures) as an Eden within itself.
My own work is self-labelled as documentary photography, out of a lack of a better title. By carrying a camera daily, I aim to embody the spirit of the Brownie in making the means to photography ready to me at every moment, without obstruction – by doing so, I can take a photograph of anything that captures my eye and interests me enough to preserve. Any of us can do this these days, with a camera readily available in our pockets around the clock – and many of us do so without even thinking about it. Next time you take your phone out to take a photograph, whether it is of your friends or of something that caught your eye, think about how you are participating in the act of documenting your life through photography. Make prints of your favourites, display them on your walls, share them with your friends and family. Follow the tradition of those who came before you and took their own snapshots documenting their lives. Everyone is a documentary photographer today, and this is a good thing.