A project by UNESCO-MOST – C.I.P.S.H – Mémoire de l’Avenir
The Self-Portrait Experience ® is the method I created in 2005, since I started holding self-portrait workshops, for people to learn to transform pain into art, or better “shit into diamonds”. The method consists in the production of photo and/or video self-portraits, an in-depth work on the perception and choice of the images using the method’s precise artistic criteria, the project build-up and its publication.
The complete method is a photographic journey through all aspects of our lives, divided in three parts, with a series of exercises on each part, to stimulate the creative process:
– ME (emotions, character representation, places, body, roots)
– ME AND THE OTHER (relational self-portraits and portraits)
– ME AND THE WORLD (group self-portraits and portraits, relationship to society and the media)
During my workshops I invite participants to take self-portraits in my studio, generally on the expression of emotions. In these occasions, the images of my project Higher Self are produced. I leave participants alone to take pictures after having given them my instructions, so I am not present when the work is produced.
When the participant has finished, I come back in and I accompany him to look at the images and work on their perception.
The next day, participants share their images with the group to get a collective response.
In the longer workshops I encourage participants to take their self-portraits with their own cameras, in order to start producing their project, which will be the beginning of an autobiographic project, using different media: books, videos, exhibitions, web pages.
The method’s Criteria of Perception are:
– visual harmony
– epic and/or archetypal storytelling
I work on autobiographical art. I use my life in my photographic and video-graphic works to achieve personal expression, to feel good in my own skin, to keep an on-going inner dialogue, but also to allow people to mirror themselves in my work, since I aim to be a speaker for others. I intend to claim the right to express and share difficult emotions and question the public about what we do in front of others’ pain.
I also facilitate the same process on others, because this practice has helped me to overcome my personal problems and to become stronger and wiser to fulfill my mission. All I want now is to divulge my practice and teach my methodology to others, to allow them to transform their pain into art, to prove that the human being possesses a huge potential, if he just looks within and tries to understand himself. Art is a powerful tool which can be used for this purpose: the creative process is our subconscious’ best friend, it allows us to express whatever we need to see today.
My work is uncomfortable; it’s not easy to see. Some have said that it is not art, it is therapy, but I ask myself: am I not free, as an artist, to do whatever I want? Who decides if what I do is art or not? Aren’t they trying to put a label on something which disturbs them deep inside?
This society needs to be deeply touched, disturbed and turned inside out if necessary. How do we want more justice if we are not.