The Awakening

I have been using self-portrait photography as an art form and as a means to self-examination, empowerment and healing for over twenty years. In addition to being a photographer, I have a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology and Feminist Therapy and have used self-portrait photography as a form of therapy with women.

Making self-portraits is a spontaneous, intuitive and somewhat mysterious process for me. Since I do not see myself through the camera lens, photographing myself is an act of faith. Working blindly, as I do, makes photographing as much a kinesthetic as a visual process; I feel where I am in the frame.

I use a 2 1/4' format camera, a tripod and a cable release. I include the cable release in my photographs as evidence that I am photographing myself and because it is a metaphoric lifeline or umbilical cord connecting me to the camera and consequently to the viewer.

For me, making self-portraits is both a political statement and a spiritual practice. I believe that it is as radical for a woman to photograph herself as it is for her to love herself in any society that values women primarily as objects. I also believe that art is a bridge between worlds, inner and outer, physical and spiritual. In this sense, I hope that my work contains evidence of this fleeting state of grace, this bridge that connects us to ourselves, to each other and to all things.



PATTI LEVEY





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