« Self-portraiture is an ultimate form of expression… it's like sharing your journal with the world. »

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Cu siguranta vi s-au perindat prin fata ochilor imagini din portofoliul fotografei Josephine Cardin. Personal, am descoperit-o in paginile Behance, acum ceva timp, fotografiile sale evidentiindu-se printre nenumaratele serii de portrete si auto-portrete tocmai prin modul poetic in care imbina ideea de muzica si dans, sugerand gesturi si miscare acolo unde ele au fost inghetate de aparatul de fotografiat. Fiecare serie are un titlu simbolic, precum Between Lock and Key sau Sculptural Unrealities, iar din punct de vedere tematic jongleaza cu sentimente, emotii si stari – singuratate, izolare, teama si schimbare – punand accent pe ideea de poveste.

Josephine Cardin s-a nascut in Santo Domingo, Republica Dominicana, iar in prezent locuieste in Rochester, NY. A studiat Istoria Artei in cadrul Florida Atlantic University, urmand apoi un Master in Comunicare la Lynn University. Frumusetea si gratia caracteristice baletului clasic, pe care Josephine l-a practicat cu ani in urma, se reflecta acum in imaginile sale, in prezent dedicandu-se exclusiv artei fotografice.

Josephine Cardin a acceptat invitatia MUZAHOLIC de a raspunde catorva intrebari, in care ne-a vorbit despre creativitate si arta, despre depasirea momentelor de indoiala si despre autoportret ca mijloc de exprimare a unor viziuni personale, cat si despre lucruri si poeti din a caror opera se inspira.

This Loneliness Just Won't Leave Me Alone. 2014. © JOSEPHINE CARDIN

I have discovered Josephine Cardin’s wonderful portfolio on Behance a couple of years ago, as her images stood out amongst the many portraits and self-portraits featured due to the poetic way she combined the idea of music and dance, suggesting gestures and movement even though the camera was meant to freeze the moment. Each of her series bears a symbolic title, such as Between Lock and Key or Sculptural Unrealities, and thematically she plays with emotions and feelings – loneliness, isolation and fear – focusing on visual storytelling.

Born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Josephine Cardin is today a fine arts photographer living and working in Rochester, NY. She earned her B.A. in Art History from Florida Atlantic University, followed by an M.A. in Communications from Lynn University. The beauty and grace borrowed from the aesthetics of ballet are remnants of the years she spent training as a ballet dancer, as she is now focused on pursuing her fine arts career full-time.

Josephine kindly agreed to answer a few questions for our MUZAHOLIC readers, in which she talked about creativity and art, overcoming self-doubt and other obstacles, as well as about self-portrait as a means of expressing one’s vision, while also naming few of the things and some of the poets that inspire her work.

First of all, congratulations on your poetic and inspiring take on human form. I think that you are challenging our visual and spiritual limitations with images such as the Of Desolate Amber series, which is one of my favourite. Did you have any new revelations while creating it, or are you exploring territory that is already familiar to you?

Thank you! As far as the feel and emotion in that piece I'd say that it is similar to everything I do. I have been doing this long enough that I truly don't aim for a particular feel, it simply comes out that way each time. If you spend enough time experimenting your voice emerges on its own. What was new for me with this series was the integration of traditional art, in this case painting, and digital photography. I used acrylic paint to create some abstract pieces that I then brought into my images with post processing.

Between Lock and Key. 2015. © JOSEPHINE CARDIN

Is there an image from Of Desolate Amber, Between Lock and Key or from any other recent project that is most meaningful to you?

I wouldn't say I have specific single images that mean more to me, simply because I view the series as a story that needs each image to complete the tale. I never set out to create series based works, but as I began to develop my figurative work I found that I was drawn to telling a story more than just creating a single image. Some people are great at telling a story with just one image, I find that difficult, which is why a bigger series always works better for me.

How has creating work that does “not speak of conventional beauty” changed your perceptions about taking photographs?

I feel that we are all so conditioned to view beauty in a particular way. For most Westernized cultures that equates to youth, symmetry, and striving for perfection. A model in a magazine, a perfectly manicured lawn, people smiling, etc. I believe that beauty lies in everything. People are beautiful when they're being themselves, plants look beautiful just out in the wild, or even feeling down on a rainy day can have its beauty. At first glance viewers might see some of my work as sad, especially if it deals with a heavy or dark topic, but most of my work is about transformation, and I personally find beauty in that.

When you see a photograph or an image, how do you know that's what you want to use? What's the creative process like for you?

When I go into shooting I have a pretty good idea of what I'm going for, so when I'm in the editing process it's more about picking the ones that best tell my story in the least amount of images. That can be hard to do, but ultimately I look for images that move me. Each one has to move the story forward to whatever I'm trying to illustrate.

Of Desolate Amber. 2015. © JOSEPHINE CARDIN

Can you elaborate on your personal view on creating photographic self-portraits? How much of your own vulnerabilities and things you struggle with transpire through your work?

Self-portraiture is an ultimate form of expression. Whether the idea is personal or not, I'm the one telling the story, so there is always a piece of me in my work. That can be quite nerve-wracking, but I view it as a performance of sorts. I say it's like sharing your journal with the world. I get inspired by a variety of things, but ultimately every project I chose to do has some connection to me, whether I have felt that emotion, or simply connect to it somehow, I have to feel it to create it. I pick topics that I feel most of us experience in life, but are often too afraid to share. Things like sadness, loneliness, fear and self-doubt are all pretty universal emotions. I like when art can connect us to one another by feeling a shared experience, and that's what I try to do with my work.

Do you ever have periods of self-doubt and feel creatively unmotivated?

I think if you're human you always have self-doubt, so absolutely, but as I've gotten older I use it to drive me versus allowing it to break me. You can either allow it to paralyze you or you can use it as a motivator to do better. After having children my perspective on everything changed. It was truly life-changing, especially as I try to be the example of what I teach my children. They've inspired me to never give up. I think because of that drive I never feel unmotivated. I make art because I love it, so I don't put pressure on myself anymore, which just makes it fun. When you view it like that you allow yourself the freedom to be creative.

What distinguishes a selfie from an artist's self-portrait? When does a selfie achieve artistic value?

For being a self-portraiture artist I have never taken a “selfie.” But it's probably more a generational thing, since I didn't grow up during the selfie culture. I see a selfie as something that's fun, impromptu, and very much connected to social media. Whereas I see a self-portrait as something much more deliberate and likely planned out, if for the purpose of art.

I know you've trained as a visual artist and ballet dancer, but going back to childhood, when did you first become interested in art?

I don't think there was a time I wasn't!  As far back as I can remember I was doing something creative. Drawing, painting, entering art contests, and dancing. It was always a big part of my life and where I felt most like myself.

What was one of the first artists you saw or pieces that really stood out to you?

Degas was one of the first artists that stood out to me, probably from being a dancer I must have seen some of his work in a studio. I remember loving the scenes he captured, which never felt posed or forced. They are almost like photographs capturing the real life of these dancers. Even in my work that is in a studio setting and to some level planned out, I tend to move through poses, versus just standing still. Overall though, I've always been greatly inspired by painters.

Keep Me Silent. 2015. © JOSEPHINE CARDIN

How would you describe your philosophy or approach toward art?

I approach art from a personal place. I tend to identify with art that moves me in some way, which is why I identify with work that is emotional. I don't believe all art needs to come from that place, but it's how I create and how I tend to connect to art that I like.

Do you listen to music while you work?

All the time. Music has always been such a big part of my life and it inspires so much of my art. I listen to it for inspiration and I listen to it while I work.

Which living person do you most admire?

That's a tough question, and I don't think I can pick one. I admire many people for different reasons. My husband, my parents, friends that I deeply care for. Each one of these people have unique stories and strengths that I admire. Right now I admire my kids for always being in the present moment. Toddlers are great at not thinking about yesterday or tomorrow.

A mini-series on Frida Kahlo. 2014. © JOSEPHINE CARDIN

Who are your favorite writers?

Edgar Allan Poe, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Emily Dickinson, just to name a few. I search a lot of poetry and quotes online and save things in journals that I go back to for inspiration.

What advice can you give emerging photographers, especially on presentation, on networking, on consistently producing excellent work?

Don't be afraid to put your work out there, even if you only think of yourself as a beginner. There are excellent artistic communities online that could help your growth. Behance, for example, is a wonderfully supportive community that gives you a place to showcase your work, obtain feedback, and look for inspiration all on the same site. As far as producing work, you can't go into it with any kind of pressure or you'll create walls and limitations. Your goal should be to create and experiment. Sometimes you will be happy with it and other times you will want to start over, but consistently good work only comes with time and practice.

In The Deep. 2015. © JOSEPHINE CARDIN

Has social networking changed how you promote and market your work?

Definitely. I started on social media only a couple of years ago and had no idea I'd build the following I have. It has provided me not only buyers for my work, but also many opportunities to be featured in magazines and art related websites. It truly has a domino effect once you start to build an audience.

You often talk about beauty and since it is our website’s moto to surround ourselves and our readers with beautiful, meaningful art, music and what not, we would like to know what it your own definition of the word “beauty”?

Beauty is all around us. We simply limit ourselves to it because of our preconceived notion of what we think beauty is.  I find beauty in the simplicity of our everyday. It's in waking up and having another day to live, it's in having health, in hearing the beauty in music, in watching a loved one smile, in feeling emotions, and in living in the present moment, without worries, fears or doubts.

And finally, what would be your perfect day?

I try to live my perfect day every day. It's a hard thing to do in a fast-paced world where we are always searching for happiness through wealth and material possessions. I'm a recovering perfectionist and have learned through my own mistakes and growth that happiness is not in the “if only,” or “once this happens.” For me it's getting to being present with those I love and getting to create. Anything extra is a bonus.

There Was Nothing To Fear. 2014. © JOSEPHINE CARDIN

Under A Dark Night Sky. 2015. © JOSEPHINE CARDIN

Selection from the portfolio published on Vogue Italy online. 2013-2014


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