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The ever evolving art of the ‘selfie’ portrait

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Many young adults have mastered the art of self portrait through ‘selfies'.

But for emerging young digital photographer Signe Constable, 20, taking pictures of herself is a way to document her life and the places she has travelled.

Her latest work is being featured in this year's Biennial Exhibition held at the National Gallery in City Hall, Hamilton.

The Biennial is her second group exhibition. In 2013 she was featured in an Evening of Art Exhibition in Plymouth, Vermont.

Miss Constable grew up within Bermuda's artistic community with friends and family, including her uncle, local digital photographer James Cooper.

She counts photography as one of her early interests and started experimenting with her first point and shoot camera at age 13.

“I've always been a visual person.” she said. “I was never particularly good at drawing, but it was natural for me to be drawn towards photography.”

Miss Constable said what started out as a hobby took a more seriously turn during a year-long trip to Asia.

After being home-schooled for her entire life, Miss Constable had imagined that she would attend culinary school to become a chef.

But then an opportunity of a lifetime presented itself and she was given the chance to move to Japan for a year to practice Aikido — a Japanese martial art that she has been performing for sixteen years.

While in Japan, she started her own project and challenged herself to take self portraits everyday for a year. “Since then I never looked back and have been slowly updating my camera [skills] ever since,” she said.

When she returned to Bermuda last October she decided to submit five of the photographs taken during her trip to Japan into the exhibition.

Two of those five photographs were accepted into this year's Biennial Exhibition.

“I would love a career in photography,” she told The Royal Gazette. “But I'm afraid if I enter into commercial photography then it will take away from the enjoyment of being a lifestyle photographer.

“Photography is a way for me to express my emotions non-verbally.”

Musician David Grohl once said: “You can sing a song to a stadium of 85,000 different people and they'll all sing it back for 85,000 different reasons.”

And Miss Constable couldn't agree more. She has learned that everyone will have a different reaction to her work.

“I want people to look at my art and feel something similar to how the musician Mr Grohl made his audience feel,” she said. “I've had people come up to me after a show and say ‘I didn't like any of the art'.

“But my response would be ‘That's fine — at least you felt something.'

“Taking self-portraits is very therapeutic for me,” she continued. “I began showing people my work and they seemed to like it, so I started applying to shows all the time.

“I got accepted into very few, but to me that wasn't a big deal because I love taking self- portraits and hearing the responses from people about how my art made them feel. That's what I enjoy the most.”

Miss Constable admitted she doesn't consider herself a full fledged photographer quite yet, but loves her craft and how it allows her to express herself with others through her art.

The message she hopes to get across to people through her work is that everyone is entitled to their own opinions and tastes.

“I don't ever want to tell people how they should feel,” she added.

The Biennial Exhibition is being held at the National Gallery East in St Georges; and National Gallery at City Hall from June 14th until November 22nd. Admission is free.

Signe Constable
Signe Constable a young photographer whose work is featured in this years Bermuda Biennial Exhibition at The National Gallery in City Hall.(Photo by Akil Simmons)
Signe Constable
Signe Constable a young photographer whose work is featured in this years Bermuda Biennial Exhibition at The National Gallery in City Hall.(Photo by Akil Simmons)
Signe Constable a young photographer whose work is featured in this years Bermuda Biennial Exhibition at The National Gallery in City Hall.(Photo by Akil Simmons)

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Published July 14, 2014 at 9:00 am (Updated July 14, 2014 at 8:36 am)

The ever evolving art of the ‘selfie’ portrait

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