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"Lockdown Diaries" by Saffron Liberty

Please, tell us a bit more about "Lockdown Diaries":

My quarantine project consists of a series of self-portraits. Each portrait depicts an imaginary character and paints the scene of a fictional story initially inspired by states of mind or activities I engaged in during lockdown.

The scenes I constructed are somewhat mundane but hold elements suggestive of something darker, this reflects the way we carry on with our everyday lives accompanied by the anxiety of the unknown. 

Did lockdown change the way you create?

The limitations of lockdown definitely helped to feed my creativity. Having only myself and my immediate surroundings to work with made me more experimental. I had to view a familiar environment with new eyes, constantly searching for alternative angels and corners of the house that would create a different scene, so that each photograph differed from one another and told a different story, despite their shared location.This required me to apply a lot more attention to detail. For the same reason, I explored the use of props, costume and makeup in a lot more depth. I also appreciated the unlimited time I had for each shot compared to regular time limitations, which made me feel more relaxed to try out new things.

What exites you most about taking self-portraits? 

For me the most exciting part of taking self-portraits is the performative element. By being both image and image maker you can communicate exactly what you want. This control enables you to use photographs in an autobiographical sense, a great way to communicate inner thoughts and feelings. I think we all have some form of alter ego or parts of us others don’t know about.

I feel more confident in front of a camera when performing as somebody else, it takes the eye of the observer off of me and onto the imaginary character. The dressing up part is fun too and really helps with getting into character - I like to escape reality sometimes.

What is challenging about it? 

It takes a lot of patience and practice. It is more difficult to get the exact angle and composition you want to achieve when when taking a photo of yourself instead of somebody else. You have to be able to persist and keep trying until you get it right but that can be frustrating sometimes. On days when you feel slightly under the weather and unphotogenic it takes a lot more motivation too.

What is the most creative response to covid-19 you have come across so far?

I absolutely love Lisa Sogini’s quarantine project ‘Behind Glass’ - a portrait series documenting mothers and their children experiencing isolation in their homes. She captures the intimacy and tension of the relationship of mother and child during this time. The glass being a barrier that separates them and creates a distance in the photo, showing the disconnect to the outside world and its support.

Saffron Liberty

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