Kimbra Audrey is an American photographer living in Paris. Kimbra takes self-portraits shot entirely on film which she develops herself at home. After working as a model for nearly a decade she was frustrated with superficial images constantly created of her and the narrow definition of beauty imposed by the fashion industry. Posing in front of the camera for so long and being told what to do, Kimbra uses her camera to rebuild her confidence and self-esteem that was stripped away from her in the modelling industry. She has suffered from depression her entire life and uses her photographs as an outlet. Self-portraits are a way for Kimbra to create raw images exactly the way she sees herself and capture what she believes is beautiful. She does not edit her images and likes the natural imperfections that occur from shooting film.
How did the idea for the series come about?
I primarily shoot self-portraits so I am constantly exploring my relationship with myself. I took these images in the south of France and was focusing specifically on my relationship with my own body. I was trying to capture the way I see myself. Taking self-portraits is an extremely vulnerable process and I really wanted to focus on the intimacy of my own body. I shoot film, and don’t edit any of my images, I want my photographs to be as honest as possible. I also hope that people feel something when they see my photographs but at the end of the day I take my photographs for myself.
Can we photograph the female body differently in a more powerful way?
Absolutely. I think that photography has an extremely narrow portrayal of beauty. The female body should be photographed the way it is, without photoshop and studio lights, just natural, I believe that is the most powerful way. I wish there was more diversity in images of the female body, Personally, I would like to see more photographs of fuller figured women and women of colour. Photography is also an extremely male-dominated industry and I would like to see more images of women portrayed through the eyes of a women.
What inspires you?
Honestly, everything. What inspires me the most is my friends, the strength and beauty I witness in people closest to me is what I find the most inspirational. I also moved to Paris recently because I feel the most inspired for my work here. Everything about the city invigorates me.
How would you define beauty?
Beauty is such a subjective term. I truly believe there is beauty in everything, even if I don’t personally see it, someone else might. Beauty is anything that is attractive to your senses and makes you feel good.
Film or digital?
Film forever. I learned how to shoot on film and that’s all I shoot to this day. I love everything about it, the feel, the smell, and I even develop my own black and white at home.
What makes you happy?
Isolation, my cameras, my stuffed animal lion named Simba. I love to be alone. I feel happiest when I am taking self-portraits and the feeling of seeing my photographs developed. It’s such an incredible feeling to work so hard to create an image, it’s never what imagined, but I always feel happy.
What’s next for you?
I am going to be a part of the first exhibition put on by Girlgaze at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles at the end of October. Girlgaze is an incredible organization whose primary focus is to support girls behind the camera. The exhibition will be focusing on sexuality and identity, grief and mental illness and censorship of the female body.
photography & model: kimbra audrey