Over to You

Austi V Camp­bell’s ‘dual per­son­al­ity’ self-por­traits carry a mes­sage of hope

NPhoto - - Contents -

Three photo sto­ries packed with bril­liant shots, plus all your rants and raves

My favourite type of pho­tog­ra­phy be­sides land­scapes and sports is fine art pho­tog­ra­phy, and my on­go­ing se­ries en­ti­tled ‘Self Cen­tered’. It is based on mem­o­ries from my life. In each im­age I recre­ate an event, thought, or emo­tion that had an im­pact on me, and will hope­fully have an im­pact on the viewer. The aim is to en­cour­age any­one who’s fac­ing some kind of dif­fi­culty to see that they are not alone, and that there’s light at the end of the tun­nel.

I por­tray both char­ac­ters in each im­age – I shoot mul­ti­ple im­ages and merge them in Pho­to­shop. For sim­pler shots I’ll be armed with my D700, one or two strobes, my wire­less re­mote and a tri­pod; for more am­bi­tious shoots I use stu­dio light­ing and bring my good friend and as­sis­tant along to help. Each shoot takes several days, if not weeks, to pre­pare (I spend

a lot of time at thrift stores get­ting props) and the shoot it­self takes a few hours to set up and com­plete. I’ll take mul­ti­ple shots to get the best poses and po­si­tion­ing; it’s im­por­tant to be as pre­cise as pos­si­ble. If I’m on my own I’ll some­times just wing it, and try to en­vi­sion in­ter­act­ing with my­self to get the most nat­u­ral out­come. I keep the edit­ing to a bare min­i­mum, be­cause I like my pho­to­graphs to feel as au­then­tic as pos­si­ble.

The sto­ries

Tough Love [1] is about the re­lent­less bat­tle waged by the mind… the on­go­ing neg­a­tive self-talk. “You’re not good enough and you never will be”. We all ex­pe­ri­ence that con­stant chat­ter that keeps us from reach­ing our own great­ness. I wanted to put this fight into phys­i­cal form.

In Scars of Ink [3] I’m giv­ing my­self a tat­too of a Nikon FE. After a long strug­gle with de­pres­sion and un­healthy habits in my early 20s, I de­cided I needed to make some big changes. Fast-for­ward nine years and life is awe­some, but it wasn’t easy. Dur­ing this ‘clean­ing up’ of sorts, I would feel void, ab­sent and numb. In order to get out of that place, I started to get tat­toos that had mean­ing to me. The phys­i­cal sen­sa­tion while get­ting the tat­too was like jumper ca­bles jolt­ing awake a dead bat­tery. It was that ex­tra jolt I needed to re­mind me “Yes, you’re still alive Austi, so get movin!”

As a young adult, some­times I would pray for some­one to just

It’s im­por­tant to be as pre­cise as pos­si­ble… I keep the edit­ing to a bare min­i­mum be­cause I like my pho­to­graphs to feel au­then­tic

Res­cue Me [2], but ul­ti­mately I re­alised I had to res­cue my­self.

This se­ries has been a heal­ing process, both per­son­ally and, I hope, for those who see my work. So many peo­ple strug­gle silently, or know a loved one who is strug­gling, whether it’s with ad­dic­tion, de­pres­sion or any num­ber of other is­sues. It means the world to me when I can help other peo­ple through my art, by let­ting them know that they’re not alone.

01 To ugh Lo ve Nikon D700, Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G ED, 1/200 sec, f/10, ISO200

02 Res­cue Me Nikon D700, Nikon AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8G ED, 1/4 sec, f/2.8, ISO400


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