Artefact | Being Photographed: a celebration of self

2 weeks ago, when I made a wall of my brain and body drawing activities, I told myself “I will wear the costume designed by me, standing in front of my paintings to take a photo, as a celebration of self. ”

Thanks to my classmate Friedel, my celebration came true.


I love being photographed.

During my growth in China, if my family wanted to celebrate a big festival or a big life event, like Chinese New Year, birthday, graduation day, marriage, we would wear the best clothes and wear makeup, then go to the photo studio or invite a photographer to take photos for us, we call it ‘art photo’ which is different from ‘life photo’.

So in my mind, if something or someday has special meaning for me, I must have a photo with it as a celebration.

For example,

to celebrate birthdays (no matter you are happy or not, aware or not ) :

to celebrate graduation:

to celebrate the Persian New Year with my team:

to celebrate being an artist:

When I discovered 9 selves and designed my first costume at RCA, I must take a photo as a celebration!

I was thinking if I should book the capture studio to take photos with a pure white background, but when I looked at Tim Walker’s fashion photography, I found he likes building a dramatic background for portrait photography, it’s like people playing at the theatre.

And I found that the wall full of my drawings in the studio is the best dramatic background for my photo, I could imagine me in my garment standing in front of my paintings, it’s like my kingdom.

Luckily, my classmate Friedel, a photographer, agreed to help me to take photos even he is quite busy at his project too. He is very patient and careful, he took several photos first to check the light and angles with different lenses, he took me in different wears so I could select which one I want in the end, and actually, I found the photos he captured when I didn’t notice are so much better than those when I made pose, he is very good at capturing moments.

Before shooting, I drew a mustache on my face, which is the symbol of my Persian Princess portrait paintings, to weaken the gender but show an androgynous appeal. 

During the shooting, an interesting accident happened. I used a mannequin head(which I made 2 months ago) to put my mask first, and I wore the sunglasses and kerchief.

When I changed to the mask, and accidentally put the glasses and kerchief on the mannequin model, Friedel took a photo, with my hand under its chin, it looked like a real person.


So for the rest the shooting, I started to hold the head, to look at it, like look at myself and hold myself.

Another photo I really like taken by Friedel, is the one he asked me to turn back, raise my hand, without showing my face or my hair.


When I looked at the photo, I can’t figure out where is me, I become part of my art, I am my art.  Thanks to Friedel, this is exactly what I want to express.


Royal College of Art, London


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