Kiele Twarowski is a 20-year-old artist from the suburbs of Chicago, currently studying at the Savannah College of Art and Design. With her affinity for light and the desire to evoke feelings of nostalgia, she captures her surroundings on 35mm colour film. Kiele photographs those who are dear to her, creating a deeply intimate feeling throughout her work. Her photos serve as an extension of herself – acting almost as personal as a diary.

How did the idea for the series come about?

Originally Christina had come over to my apartment to shoot some photos of me for her black and white technique class. At the end of her shoot, I noticed that the light in my roommate’s bedroom was super soft and glowy, so I knew I had to go get my camera. I thought I was only going to take a couple shots, but before I knew it, I had finished my whole roll of film because I was so excited about how she looked in the light. The photos are sort of a continuation of an ongoing project I have titled Girls, which is just a series of photos exploring femininity and what it means for each individual woman.

How did your shoot go?

It went really well! Like I said, it wasn’t planned at all, so it felt really good to just shoot for the sake of shooting. Christina and I are really good friends, so having that level of comfort with your model is always a bonus.

Can we photograph the female body differently in a more powerful way?

Definitely. I think we need to start with ending the sexualization of the female body. There’s a huge difference between shooting women nude or in minimal clothing and having it be empowering versus objectifying. It’s all in the posing, the expression, etc. I’m so bored with male gaze portraits of women. I want to see women who are in control of how they’re being viewed! There’s nothing wrong with sexy photos of women, but I think that the photos should be sexy because the woman in them has the power to express her sexuality and how she’s being seen, not because some dude is telling her to look hot for the sake of selling sex.

What inspires you?

Other women artists! I’m constantly drawing inspiration from my friends and cool gals on the internet. I also buy a lot of magazines and photo books. Nothing beats having a physical body of work to actually flip through for inspiration.

How would you define beauty?

Feeling comfortable in your own skin.

Film or digital?

Always film. You’re able to achieve a nostalgic dreamy look with film that digital will never quite have. Plus I love the physicality of film – being able to touch and see your negatives, rather than just some digital file floating in space. Film is forever.

What makes you happy?

Drake, plants, coffee, and breakfast food. I also love spending time with my friends and my family and my dogs. I’m pretty easy to please!

What’s next for you?

I’d really like to try out fashion photography. A lot of my work doesn’t really fall into a category – it’s not exactly fine art, but it’s not exactly fashion or editorial. I’d like to try doing more editorial/commercial type shoots though. I definitely want to get more into video work and films. I’m a photography major and a film and television minor, so my ultimate dream is to be a director of photography. I’d love to have a cast and crew of women, queer people, and POC. There’s a huge problem with diversity and representation in the film industry, and I want to work towards changing that.