Jolene was a brave photographer who I happened to bump into one day. Looking through her portfolio I realized her biggest subject was herself! She is also not shy about shedding clothes here and there. In the end, it is her bravery coupled with her passion and extreme talent that I felt deserved a slot into our ongoing Creative Spotlight series. Jolene may be a little strange and creepy but I assure you, she doesn’t bite. We chop it up about films, photography, and everything in between. Scroll down to read the full interview!
Tell us a little about yourself and how you picked up photography.
Jolene: I’m 19 this year and I’m a Fashion Student residing in Singapore. I picked up photography when I was 16 years old (nearly 17). I was fascinated by photographs I saw on Flickr and felt inspired by all the creativity exhibited by several members of the community.
You have a very cool series that deals with philia’s of a sexual nature. What is your attraction to these interesting concepts?
Jolene: Thank you. I wanted to explore the darker depths of human nature and philias were an interesting topic because I think it is true to a certain extent that many people have some form of secret fetish (not to the point of having some sort of philia).
Believe it or not, you’re one of the few photographers that uses themselves as the subject. Can you explain your creative process behind this?
Jolene: I use myself as my own subject because of a variety of reasons, but not all of them are purely creative reasons.
1. I do not actually have the money to hire models (I am a full-time student..)
2. I do not have the time to arrange shoots with models
3. I know people with terrible experience with models, like they come really late or they throw tantrums, they refuse to do certain things etc.
4. Sometimes I put myself in very uncomfortable positions for certain concepts or edit myself in a very unflattering way to look scary. I think it’s only right that I suffer for my own art and not others.
5. It can be difficult for a model to execute what you want because very often my photos are personal and
Brooke Shaden once said ‘Self portraiture is not autobiographical in nature. Instead, I attempt to place myself within worlds I wish I could live in.’ Do you feel the same way?
Jolene: To a certain extent I do feel the same way, I love being able to create fantasy worlds that I wish I could exist in. However at times I do create self-portraits that are more personal and close to my heart.
Inception rocked, Black Swan was pretty cool, but what about Asian films? Got any favs?
Jolene: I love both of those films. As for Asian films… The Ring was pretty inspiring and I really enjoyed Red Cliff. If cartoon movies count, I am a huge fan of Studio Ghibli movies like Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro and Grave of the Fireflies.
What is in your camera bag? What do you use?
Jolene: I use a Canon 450 D, I only have one lens which is currently spoiled. The 18-55 mm kit lens. Hopefully I’ll be able to get a new one soon!
In the next 5 years do you see yourself venturing into fashion and apparel design or will you peruse photography on a grander scale?
Jolene: I hope I will be able to either do photography on a grander scale or branch into concept character illustrating/character designing. I do not see myself venturing further into fashion.
With the boom in social networking, the internet, texting, technology advancements, etc. Do you embrace these trends? Or do you feel technology and the internet hinders artists’ creativity?
Jolene: I think these trends should be embraced because they can be helpful in terms of gaining exposure =) They can reach out to even more people and get more feedback which can help them improve, or they can be inspired by others as well.
Thanks so much for your time Jolene, any advice for any young women out there trying to peruse their dreams?
Jolene: I know this will sound pretty cheesy but I think it is very important to stay true to oneself and not bend to the will of others or lose one’s own style because of another person’s personal taste. However, critique is always useful and should not be ignored!