Self-Portraiture as Power: How I fell in Love with the Woman in the Photos

Self Portraiture as Power: How I fell in Love with the Woman in the Photos.

Self Portraiture as Power: How I fell in Love with the Woman in the Photos, now on VERITE WOMAN, Self Portrait, Photographer, Photography, Woman, Model, Fujifilm, VSCO Cam, photo editing, artist, creative, how to take a selfie, feminism, self love, how to love yourself, how to have self confidence, Instagram.
Words and photography by Michaela d’Artois.

We live in a selfie nation. Did you know that there’s a tactic of taking a photo called a fake selfie? In which someone else holds the camera for you but you extend your arm out as if it is, in fact, a momentary shot that you conjured yourself (with a go-go gadget arm length no less). Our fascination with this self-curated phenomenon seems endless. Yet self-portraiture gets a bad rep. It is easily seen as vapid to spend hours on the floor of your apartment, self-timer mode in full effect, being creative director to your own limbs. However, in a journey with the self as subject, I have found it to be one of the most liberating forms of creativity and expression I have yet to face as an artist. I would go as far to say that it has connected me deeper with who I am as a woman, and allowed me to fall in love the woman in the photos.

I have long been mystified by why we seek muses outside of ourselves. We’re told to look at yourself too long, or to focus on your own-ness is an illness of narcissism, yet narcissism is actually a mental state derived from fear of lacking.
Think of the most impactful female artists who have used themselves as the canvas for their work: Frida Kahlo, Cindy Sherman, Lois Mailou Jones, and my personal favorite Ana Mandieta. All of these women saw the most important study was themselves. If more people looked inward for inspiration rather than outward to those #LifeGoals, #BodyGoals, #CoupleGoals we swipe through daily, we would have more women living and breathing their truths.
Self Portraiture as Power: How I fell in Love with the Woman in the Photos, now on VERITE WOMAN, Self Portrait, Photographer, Photography, Woman, Model, Fujifilm, VSCO Cam, photo editing, artist, creative, how to take a selfie, feminism, self love, how to love yourself, how to have self confidence, Instagram.I hold the belief that when someone photographs you, they take a little part of you with each image captured. Their eye is requesting you to fit inside their vision, whether they mean to impose or not and once the still is shot you have very little control where that image will go, how the conversation around it will be formatted. When those photos go “live”, thousands, maybe millions of eyes take what they want from the photo. Whether the female gaze, male gaze or other gaze sees it, they are free to digest and judge it as they wish. If the thousands of years of art history prior to the life of Instagram tells us anything,
the female has always been a part of art’s context, however, she has had very little say on how she is portrayed and then viewed. We can never stop creepers from creeping, or subjects being objectified but we can structure the way She as Subject is being used.

Self Portraiture as Power: How I fell in Love with the Woman in the Photos, now on VERITE WOMAN, Self Portrait, Photographer, Photography, Woman, Model, Fujifilm, VSCO Cam, photo editing, artist, creative, how to take a selfie, feminism, self love, how to love yourself, how to have self confidence, Instagram.

Fast forward a year into my journey, almost all the content I create is self-portraiture, and this project of documenting myself has been liberating, to say the least. With uninhibited freedom of working in solitude I am unaffected by the time it takes me to “get the shot” and the fearless to express my truest self. When I click through the photos I have taken, I see a woman comfortable in her body, in her space, in her sexuality — she is not trying to fit into someone else’s vision, or appease someone else’s gaze but she commands her own. I found myself falling in love with this woman’s vulnerability, she’s unrestrained, enjoying the flaws that make her real. I love the way the light catches the tiny sprinkling of hairs on her upper thighs, the way the soles of her feet are always dusty from running around her L.A. studio. I love the way that on any given day she could embody a million different women while still staying true to her self. I love that I am in control of how I am being portrayed, and it isn’t at the expense or direction of anyone else. I am so much more than my physical self, and through the photos, I create I can tell that story in a two-dimensional format.

As anything else, the more familiar we become with a subject, the more normalized it becomes to us. Through the act of photographing myself, I was liberated to get to know who I am and see myself objectively. It made me more comfortable in my skin. It made me more comfortable to see that from an outside perspective those little things that bug you about your surface “self” were really not apparent at all.
In the art of self-portraiture, we don’t all need to be Cindy Sherman’s. Part of the craft is self-discovery, and in a world where publishing just means sharing I realized these photos don’t have to go anywhere if I don’t want them to — they are first and foremost for me and no one else.

It’s the study of self.

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Get to Know Dream Girl & Artist Blanda — From Favorite LA Haunts to the Stories Behind Her Work!

Get to Know Dream Girl & Artist Blanda — From Favorite LA Haunts to the Stories Behind Her Work! -- Verite Published, LA Artist, Female Artist, Female Nudes, Blanda Jana, Silverlake, Cafe Stella, Little Dom's, Go Get Em' Tiger, Switzerland, NYC, Photographer, Vintage Denim, Shop Verite.
Photography by Allister Ann.

She’s long been one of our favored Instagram accounts to peruse, swooning over her artistic mastery, and natural fawn-hued beauty. Blanda (last name not necessary) is the modern bohemian artist. Hailing from Switzerland, to Silverlake, via NYC, she brings with her entrancing paint strokes and cool girl style. Blanda invited us to her home and studio for a glimpse into her artwork, inspiration, and what she calls ‘being in the zone’.

Get to Know Dream Girl & Artist Blanda — From Favorite LA Haunts to the Stories Behind Her Work! -- Verite Published, LA Artist, Female Artist, Female Nudes, Blanda Jana, Silverlake, Cafe Stella, Little Dom's, Go Get Em' Tiger, Switzerland, NYC, Photographer, Vintage Denim, Shop Verite.

Vérité: What about the elements of painting do you find the most fueling to your work? Is it the medium, subject, or color? all?

Blanda: It’s the access to flow. Creative work can function as a kind of portal to create a highly productive state of ‘being in the zone’. The medium, subject matter, color, etc. are usually what formulates while I work. They are elements of the outcome, not so much the fuel.
Get to Know Dream Girl & Artist Blanda — From Favorite LA Haunts to the Stories Behind Her Work! -- Verite Published, LA Artist, Female Artist, Female Nudes, Blanda Jana, Silverlake, Cafe Stella, Little Dom's, Go Get Em' Tiger, Switzerland, NYC, Photographer, Vintage Denim, Shop Verite. Get to Know Dream Girl & Artist Blanda — From Favorite LA Haunts to the Stories Behind Her Work! -- Verite Published, LA Artist, Female Artist, Female Nudes, Blanda Jana, Silverlake, Cafe Stella, Little Dom's, Go Get Em' Tiger, Switzerland, NYC, Photographer, Vintage Denim, Shop Verite.
Get to Know Dream Girl & Artist Blanda — From Favorite LA Haunts to the Stories Behind Her Work! -- Verite Published, LA Artist, Female Artist, Female Nudes, Blanda Jana, Silverlake, Cafe Stella, Little Dom's, Go Get Em' Tiger, Switzerland, NYC, Photographer, Vintage Denim, Shop Verite.

Vérité: So much of what you paint or sketch is the female form. What about being a female artist do you think allows you a unique view of portraying the subject?

Blanda: It is something I naturally gravitate towards. Being a woman, I obviously relate to the female form but I also find it very aesthetically appealing in shape.

Get to Know Dream Girl & Artist Blanda — From Favorite LA Haunts to the Stories Behind Her Work! -- Verite Published, LA Artist, Female Artist, Female Nudes, Blanda Jana, Silverlake, Cafe Stella, Little Dom's, Go Get Em' Tiger, Switzerland, NYC, Photographer, Vintage Denim, Shop Verite.Blanda wears our Shop Vérité Little Birds Bodysuit, shop her look here.
Get to Know Dream Girl & Artist Blanda — From Favorite LA Haunts to the Stories Behind Her Work! -- Verite Published, LA Artist, Female Artist, Female Nudes, Blanda Jana, Silverlake, Cafe Stella, Little Dom's, Go Get Em' Tiger, Switzerland, NYC, Photographer, Vintage Denim, Shop Verite.

Vérité: Tell us about the journey to refining your art to what it is now?

Blanda: I think anything creative has an inherent need for ongoing development. My work looks very different now than it did just a couple of years ago. There might be phases of less rapid or less visually apparent change but generally it is in constant movement.

Vérité: Were your parents supportive about you pursuing your creative career?

Blanda: My parents are incredible people. They have always encouraged me to pursue a career in whatever field I will be most fulfilled by. They were and are so supportive of what I do and who I am. I would be a very different person without the kind of solid base they built for me.
Get to Know Dream Girl & Artist Blanda — From Favorite LA Haunts to the Stories Behind Her Work! -- Verite Published, LA Artist, Female Artist, Female Nudes, Blanda Jana, Silverlake, Cafe Stella, Little Dom's, Go Get Em' Tiger, Switzerland, NYC, Photographer, Vintage Denim, Shop Verite. Get to Know Dream Girl & Artist Blanda — From Favorite LA Haunts to the Stories Behind Her Work! -- Verite Published, LA Artist, Female Artist, Female Nudes, Blanda Jana, Silverlake, Cafe Stella, Little Dom's, Go Get Em' Tiger, Switzerland, NYC, Photographer, Vintage Denim, Shop Verite.
Vérité: How has living in Los Angeles affected your career as an artist? Do you see it as a welcoming city collaboratively?
Blanda: I often miss New York for its drive and energy but, funny enough, I appreciate LA for the lack of constant fast pace and hectic environment. My life in Silverlake is much more quiet and focused on my work than it was a few years ago. As far as collaborative opportunities, I believe they can be found anywhere, you just have to be open to them.

Vérité: What do you wear while you’re painting?

Blanda: Whatever I am wearing that day. But I usually turn my sweaters inside-out in a very lazy effort to keep paint stains on the invisible side of my clothing.

Vérité: As a creative I’m constantly thinking of how I want to use my words to impact the world. Is this something you think of? If so, what mark do you hope to leave on the world with your art?

Blanda: I want to make people feel something, trigger an emotional response, bring something to focus that they haven’t seen or contemplated in that way before.
Get to Know Dream Girl & Artist Blanda — From Favorite LA Haunts to the Stories Behind Her Work! -- Verite Published, LA Artist, Female Artist, Female Nudes, Blanda Jana, Silverlake, Cafe Stella, Little Dom's, Go Get Em' Tiger, Switzerland, NYC, Photographer, Vintage Denim, Shop Verite.
Vérité: Your apartment is brimming with books, what are three books that have changed your life?
Blanda: This German book about Greek mythology my dad used to read to us as children, ha! But more recently: “The four agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz,  “Power vs. Force” by David R. Hawkins. Oh, and Norman Deutsch’s “The brain that changes itself”

Vérité: Your top three favorite spots in LA for seeing friends, getting inspiration, or procrastinating from work?

Blanda: I like Cafe Stella to meet friends, Little Dom’s for dinners and Go Get Em Tiger for coffee.

Vérité: Any words of wisdom from a seasoned artist to others who want to break into the industry?

Blanda: Just focus on spending your time doing what makes you happy. And let everything else fall into place.
Get to Know Dream Girl & Artist Blanda — From Favorite LA Haunts to the Stories Behind Her Work! -- Verite Published, LA Artist, Female Artist, Female Nudes, Blanda Jana, Silverlake, Cafe Stella, Little Dom's, Go Get Em' Tiger, Switzerland, NYC, Photographer, Vintage Denim, Shop Verite.

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