Bizarre or trending subjects? Catch a break with our curiosity of the week. In Self, French photographer Julie Kainabisa produces symbolic self-portraits, and denounces the excesses of our society.

22-year-old photographer Julie Botet, aka Julie Kainabisa, is based in Grenoble, France. She started photography during her teenage years. Her first images showed plants or barbed wires in a dark and gloomy environment, a setting that forged her peculiar aesthetics. “And then, I took photographs of my friends for several years. Portraiture started to attract me”, she remembers. After acting briefly as a model, the artist went back behind the camera, to try nude photography.

“I had a friend of mine pose in the forest. She completely let go: her back was not arched, nor were her lips half-open. She exposed her own natural, beautiful body”, the photographer tells us. Aware of the therapeutic dimension of the media, Julia Kainabisa eventually decided to produce self-portraits. A way to “face oneself”. An action that marked the start of the Self series. “I wanted to create scenes born from both memory and dreams. To process my own memory and retake possession of it, by welcoming all my emotions”, she adds.

To face your demons

Shot with a natural light, in her own apartment, Julie Kainabisa’s pictures can be read as mysterious allegories. “For instance, I imagined and set up my own death, using a single white fabric as a shroud, the photographer says. I also use plastic or tape – symbols of our declining world. These are materials we can find everywhere in our world. Moreover, plastic evokes plastic surgery. The reflection of an ill society, where the cult of the body has never been so lucrative. We are both consumers and products.”

By putting herself on display, Julie Kainabisa faces her demons, her doubts and emotions. An experiment liberating her from her unease. Dysmorphia, bulimia, jealousy and violence blend together in Self, and reveal the different symptoms of over consumerism. “This may seem harsh, but I am simply trying to bear witness”, concludes the artist, who confronted many painful memories to build this project. A touching and original introspection.

© Julie Kainabisa