Between Lock and Key

Josephine Cardin’s Movement Infused Images Recalls Mental Imprisonment

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What we at The Plus really love about Dancer-turned- photographer, Josephine Cardin’s work, is the undeniable movement within it, and just what that movement represents. In her previous series, Sculptural Unrealities, she presented herself in poses of graceful disdain for the ideals of body image thrust open women by the media.

In her recent series, Between Lock and Key, which was recently featured as photo of the day on the Vogue website, Josephine combines photography with digital art and illustration to create these symbolic pieces.
Her self-portraiture series explores the dichotomy of how we have both ‘the ability to mentally imprison ourselves, while simultaneously holding the key to unlocking our freedom.’

Josephine kindly told us more:
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The Plus: How do your self portraits differ to your other photography?
Josephine Cardin: For me, the self portraiture is more a performance art that it is pictures of myself. I never set out to photograph myself, and only began to experiment with it after my second child, where I felt I had very little time. I used to mostly create at night, so I used what was available to me, my equipment and myself. I had no idea how much I’d connect to the process. It truly is the only way I know how to fully materialise all the crazy ideas running through my head, and I greatly enjoy it.

TP: What is the hardest challenge faced in self-portraiture?
JC: Self portraiture can be quite difficult in that you don’t get to look through the lens while you shoot. I set up my lighting and decide on initial settings for the camera, but I need to constantly check it as I move around. It can also be a slow process since you have to set a timer. I’m lucky to have a remote trigger that I use on wifi with my Canon, it’s fantastic because I can use my iPhone as the trigger and set the focus right from my phone. I find that having a clear idea of what I want, and breaking things up into scenes is what helps the most.
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TP: The series is about ‘unlocking our freedom’. Do you think too few people unlock their freedom?
JC: Absolutely. I think most of us are constantly somewhere in the middle, sometimes allowing that freedom, but many times closing ourselves off from many things in life. It is a very fascinating subject to me, that we imprison ourselves in our own minds, yet we are also the only one who can change that. Whether it is fear, addictions, sadness, or negativity, no matter how much others want to help you, it ultimately can only be done by you.

TP: Was this series inspired on something you discovered in your own life?
JC: Partially myself, and also many people I’m close to. I have many loved ones who have dealt with personal situations in which they mentally imprisoned themselves for many years. I know people who still do, and want to change, but don’t have the courage to. And as for myself, I dealt with several things, specifically anxiety most of my life, that closed me off from fully living in the present moment. It wasn’t till I woke up and decided to make a change that, I truly allowed myself to live freely and without fear.

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