I AM STILL ALIVE 31.12.2020
ONE SELF PORTRAIT EVERY DAY in 2020 : 366
This is my last self-portrait for I AM STILL ALIVE and if there is any worth in it, I would like to dedicate the whole project to Francesca Woodman.
My idea is for this last photo to be a nude self-portrait. Klara and Katarina are still isolating upstairs and my only available assistant is dead against me taking my kit off and is refusing to have anything to do with it.
I used a natural density filter so to have 10 second exposures which would give it motion blur.
I thought that by making it b&w, grainy and blurry it might cover up things enough to not embarrass him but eventually decided to add “366” to be on the safe side.
As I stood naked in front of the camera I remember hoping that no neighbour would look out from a window or that anybody from the station behind me would notice. I loved the fact that I could see Emil so focused on playing Fortnite he was oblivious to what I was doing.
I AM STILL ALIVE
On January 1st 2020 I decided that I would take a self-portrait every day for the whole year.
I called the project I AM STILL ALIVE in homage to On Kawara’s Date Paintings and his “i am still alive” telegrams. I had also been re-reading Susan Sontag’s “On Photography” and this title linked nicely with the idea of photography and death. And I always had in my mind the haunting self-portraits of Francesca Woodman who died so young.
What I didn’t know on January 1st was that 2020 would become the year of the Covid-19 pandemic and that the title “I AM STILL ALIVE” would take on another meaning.
The first couple of months were quite straight forward; on most days I would be in a different location or meet different people and every evening I would post my photo of the day.
When lockdown started, things got a bit more tricky. I had to be more creative: arranging to meet people in a park, using reflection in order to be in the image; playing with Photoshop and multiple exposures where I would often appear as both the photographer and the subject being photographed; Zoom or Skype calls; and also long distance collaborations where I would ask people to take a photo of themselves and leave a space for me to be edited in.
I started taking photos of myself holding objects and adding text to go with them, linking a recipe book to the story of my Nonna, a Turkish coffee pot to tell the story of Fatima and my time volunteering in a Bosnian refugees camp, a Kodak Instamatic and the first photo I ever took. I realised that I was recounting interesting parts of my life.
I also realised that a growing number of people on social media (many I did not know personally) were becoming interested in my daily photo and story and through their comments the connection was growing and the idea of quitting got more difficult because of that.
These 366 self-portraits are not only a personal diary of this exceptional year but have also turned out to be an autobiography of my life so far.