Exploring the complex relationship between the artist and its muse, the process and the result, Sarah ALLEGRA chats to ALOUD about her work on both sides of the lens. Often shooting blind, Sarah’s work reveals a process that is both intuitive and highly constructed, questioning how illusions are fabricated, like brushstrokes on a canvas.
Hi Sarah, could you start by introducing yourself? I am a fine art photographer and self portrait artist. I like to describe my work as “visual poetry;” images which span the gap between the conscious and unconscious mind. Photos that are symbolic, other-worldly, full of raw emotion, and tell unique stories.
I tend to look at the world through a lens of myth and metaphor, in the traditions of Joseph Campbell and Carl Jung. This world view seeps into my work, and imbues it with extra layers of meaning.
I find self-portraiture fascinating, could you talk about the role of this practice in your work? Creating self portraits is a uniquely satisfying experience. I have complete and total control over every element of the photo. I don’t have to try and explain my concepts to anyone else, nor feel bad for making my models pose in awkward and uncomfortable ways (as is usually the case). The photo that it results in is fully my creation, from beginning to end. Self portraits feel like they are the most honest, authentic expression of myself that I could ever come up with. And as someone who is shy and quiet and has trouble expressing herself under normal circumstances, having this outlet is vital.
There is, of course, the added difficulty of being on both sides of the camera. Often, you’re shooting blind and have to guess on how to pose your body, tilt your head, where to place your hand. Personally, I like this extra layer of challenge. It can be frustrating at times… I’ve had to reshoot entire sets more than once because of problems that would not have risen had I been working with a model. But ultimately, I simply love both the bad and the good of taking self portraits.
Your photography has a dreamy or supernatural quality which associates your imagery with the field of painting. What is the role of digital technology in your work? My background is in painting; I’ve only been doing photography for about two years. With paint, absolutely anything is possible in your picture. People can fly, ride unicorns, be shattered into pieces; whatever you want. I wanted that same freedom in my photos, and using digital photography became my way to achieve that.
Photoshop is my magic wand to make the impossible possible. I am able to create the realities that I wish were my own realities. It opens up an entire world of expression that I wouldn’t have access to otherwise. I tend to think of my images more like paintings than photos. I spend hours and hours editing and carefully creating every single picture to make it the exact final product that I want it to be.
© All photos are copyright of Sarah Allegra.
If you are an artist or designer and have found ways to turn your passion into your livelihood, I would love to hear from you and help you get the word out there. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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- ALOUD & IWD2012 present SHE RAW – A Photo Essay by Lilli WATERS. (interviewsaloud.com)