I have no idea who I am, or who I am supposed to be. 

Experiences, memories, relationships, people who surround us, all contribute to how we see ourselves. But, I fixate and obsess, arguably an unhealthy amount, about who I am, and how I am seen by others.

Growing up, I found myself turning to those around me to try and understand who I should be or who I should want to be… how to act, speak and feel, but now as an adult, I want more, I want to place myself in a world where I have a sense of worth, where I don’t allow my inner monologue to grow and fester into something truly ugly, as it is prone to do. 

When ugly festering begins to take hold, burrowing its way deep into my sense of self, it feels as if I emphasise those parts of myself – they seem easier to see, categorise and label. Being negative for me seems more innate than being positive.

In order to investigate these feelings, I have taken self portraits everyday and have done so for over two months. I wondered whether I could take 100 photos of myself and still never recognise ‘me’ or who I’m supposed to be. I have ended the series with 721 self portraits in total.

I take photos of myself all the time, I thought it was feeding some part of me that was narcissistic and self obsessed, but have come to realise its quite the opposite. This idea of external perception terrifies me, I want to see what others see when they look at me. I’m scared they will see parts of myself I don’t like. 

I have been keeping a diary throughout the semester, trying to write down thoughts, feelings and memories that may help towards my understanding of my place in the world, how my past and present vacillate between one another in defining my understanding of myself. Incorporating excerpts of my writing into my series to examine parts of my existence that I struggle to understand and accept. 

My practice looks to metaphorical meaning, often incorporating written pieces to add emphasis to my images. A part of my practice that I like to revisit is the use of the archive, in particular my personal and familial archive. I have explored alternative processes in looking at how to achieve that nostalgic effect when unpacking past versions of myself.  I wanted to explore repetition and creating a larger body of work. I want the final work to look ‘messy’ and ‘unorganised’ which is exactly how I feel, I feel scattered.


instagram: @kayla.leephotos

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Kayla Steinbruckner