I’d like to introduce you to a new feature here at Mortal Muses today called “3 of Me”. Since I and many of the other muses have a love of self-portraits, I thought it would be fun to do a series where we ask 3 questions of some of our favorite selfie photographers and then have them choose 3 of their favorite images to share. Today I’d like to introduce you to Leanne Surfleet, a lovely and emotional artist who I discovered on flickr about a year and a half ago and whose work tells quiet stories and inspires me constantly. I hope you will enjoy this peek into Leanne’s world and that this will become a regular feature here on the site…
1. How long have you been taking self-portraits and what draws you to use yourself as the subject so often?
I’ve been taking self-portraits for around 4 or 5 years now. I originally planned on moving away to university in 2008, but I wasn’t comfortable with my living situation and moved back home. This was when I bought myself a Polaroid Spectra camera and began taking self-portraits. I was very lonely and felt a little like a failure for not continuing my studies, and all I wanted to do was take photos, so I turned the camera on to myself. It’s just been an ongoing thing since then. It has progressed further than just boredom now though, I’m finding myself through my photographs, and realising my need to record the fact that I exist.
2. Anyone viewing your work would immediately notice your affinity for shooting film. What is it about this medium that you prefer over digital or mobile photography? Do you have any favorite cameras for shooting self-portraits?
I have always preferred film over digital, I learnt how to take photographs by using film. I think it’s the physical part that attracts me to film, I have a connection to my photographs because they are real and I can hold them in my hands, they’re not just made up of numbers and things that don’t really exist. It’s a much more genuine medium too, it’s how photography should be. And I still find the whole process fascinating, where as with digital, I just find it very bland. My favourite cameras at the minute for shooting self-portraits are my Zenit E and Polaroid Spectra.
3. Your work seems uncomplicated on its face—and I mean that in the best way, as you don’t seem to use many props or costumes, and I would assume there is very little, if any, editing (a stark contrast to my own style!). However, there is still a story and a depth of emotion in every frame. Where does your inspiration come from? Do you plan your shots ahead of time? Are there any photographers (well-known or not) whose work inspires you?
Thank you! A lot of my inspiration comes from light, I hate when it’s dull outside or when it gets dark early in the winter because I feel somewhat uninspired. I’m intrigued by women to be honest, not just how they look but what they can bring to a photograph, a certain atmosphere or a feeling, I definately want to start shooting more people in this new year. I never really plan my shoots, I tend to just take photos when I feel like it, which is almost daily. I’m inspired by Nan Goldin, Francesca Woodman, Anne Brigman and Cindy Sherman.
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Thank you Leanne for joining us here today. Your work is so beautiful and real. As we close, I’d thought it would be fun to share 3 of my favorite images of yours here as well, because our readers just need to see more of your incredible photos! It was almost impossible to choose, but here goes…
If you are interested in seeing more of Leanne’s work you can find her on flickr, facebook, and on her website leannesurfleet.com. If you would like to be considered for a “3 of Me” self-portrait feature, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
See you soon!
Christy | Urban Muser