Through a series of self-portrait workshops aimed to stimulate participants’ self-awareness and to transform their emotions into photographic artworks, prison inmates discover the creative power of their emotions and pain.
Cristina Nuñez trained a group of photography students and prison inmates to use her method The Self-Portrait Experience® through a series of self-portrait workshops aimed to stimulate participants’ self-awareness and to transform their emotions into photographic artworks. In particular, prison inmates used the method on themselves and discovered the creative power of their emotions and pain.
By means of expressing their most inner feelings, they produced intense images that can communicate alternative perspectives on themselves to the world. On release, ex-prisoners will be able to use the method to work through their difficult emotions, in order to increase their self-knowledge and better support social reintegration.
Individual self-portraits focus on the expression of difficult feelings such as rage, despair or fear. Each participant is alone in the professional photo studio to take a series of self-portraits following a set of instructions given by Nuñez. Once finished, Nuñez and the workshops’ participants have a one-to-one session about the perception of these images, in order to reach a better understanding of themselves and see their discomforts under a completely different point of view.
In the group self-portraits, instead, each inmate decides how to photograph him/herself within a group chosen among the other inmates and/or the facilitators (Oslo Fotokunstskole students and Cristina Nuñez) spotlighting groups dynamics related to emargination, violence, gangs formation as well as solidarity.
Facilitators are also randomly included between the individual self-portraits to encourage the recognition of basic human feelings present without distinction both for free-people and inmates. By working together and mixing the two groups, the workshops deconstruct stigmas and stereotypes, and join different people in a mutual sense of identification rather than disassociation.
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