I was born in Birmingham, England in 1988.
After high school I went to college to do a BTEC in Photography (2005-2007), then to the University of Wales, Newport for a BA in Photographic Art (2007-2010).
I initially wanted to be a fashion photographer and would spend a lot of time doing shoots with my friend Sarah (at college I photographed my sister Carrie a lot). I considered moving to the fashion photography course in my second year, but I mainly didn't as I didn't want to have to be a first year student again.
My projects whilst I was on the BA often started out personal, but I would either change the project or the meaning behind what I was doing (because I was uncomfortable with making such work). In my last year I decided that I should make a more personal project which resulted in Reality of Youth Going Backwards in Vain. It makes clear the seven stages of life that I thought and wrote about in my second year of university, during a time when I was questioning the meaning of life a lot and I doubted if I even existed. I initially didn't plan to use myself within the work, but in the end it made sense as I would always be available.
I felt very awkward about being in the project as I wasn't very confident at the time, with myself and my appearance. Luckily people responded to the project well which gave me a bit of confidence and encouraged me to pursue my photography seriously post-BA. I had taken some self-portraits during university previously though (my first uni project was initially self-portraiture too) as a way of experimenting and because sometimes I felt inspired when it was quite late at night.
In late 2010, after finishing university and moving back to my hometown where I made One Is Not Like The Other as part of a prize for the Guernsey Photography Festival, I moved to London, where my first job in the city was working in a pharmacy.
My various bedrooms have been my studio where I have made the majority of my self-portraiture work since moving to London. I didn't intend to keep making self-portrait projects, but I had new ideas and I realised that it was a therapeutic process for me. Anxiety is something that threads most of my work together, whilst other themes that I generally explore are self-esteem, representation and identity. Hiding and revealing is also something that occurs within my work.
I have made non-self portraiture projects too though as I worried what people would think of me for only making self-portraiture work, but after having made projects (Your Mind & Body Is All That You've Got and Your Mind & Body Is All That You've Got II) that were about having low self-esteem and a video Your Mind & Body Is All That You've Got (that explained about incidents in my childhood and teenage years that knocked my confidence) some of the reasons why it gave me a bit more confidence to believe in what I was doing. Also studying for an MA in Photography at the London College of Communication (LCC, 2013-2014) allowed me to experiment more and receive regular feedback, after taking a few years out of education to prove to myself that I could make work without having deadlines. My critical context paper was entitled Female Self-portraiture in the Twenty-Tens: Self-expression or Self-exploitation?, which I enjoyed interviewing photographers and researching for.
Neblina pushed myself out of my comfort zone by photographing myself outside, which is something that I hadn't done in London before due to my anxieties (London is never quiet). The second phase consisted of drawing on the images as drawing is something that I have done for years as a way of helping myself relax (I would either run out of the room or draw profusely whilst showing videos on my MA). Prior to Neblina I made Amalgamated Anomalies, which was when I told myself I should really photograph myself outside but if I could keep making pictures that I hadn't taken before then I was allowed to keep shooting indoors. Another project that specifically targets pushing myself out of my comfort zone is my video series, Your Dedication Worries Me A Little that currently consists of over 1200 videos of myself dancing to songs that I like, which are also posted to YouTube under a pseudonym, though I am not performing as a character.
Jocelyn Allen - March 2017