Using personal photographs both old and new (usually about 3-5 per project), the following images have been produced on an iPhone. Nine basic filters for double exposure have been used as a way of creating impressions of the dreamy world of the inner self, and no other ‘trickery’ has been employed. The process has thus left a fairly sizeable space for chance. In the tension between the hard world of technology and the imagination of the mind’s eye, a new world emerges. This is a new idea of self. It’s a new identity that is not based on the body and its condition, but on the invisible inner self and it’s subtle expressions through the physical world.

‘Terraforming the Self’ is a new project (2018) investigating the self explorative function of Instagram selfies by taking them to an new level of self exposure that suggests inner change and transition. The title of the project suggests that every human is on a quest for a greater sense of identity, and that we must all fully understand the implications of ‘Planet Self’ in order to create a new climate that sustains life. While dealing with polluting ideologies of the past and finding solutions to the problems we’ve created, we are forever reinventing ourselves. From this perspective, the cliched and apparent narcissism of Instagram selfies can be seen in a more forgiving light: we are all on a quest to understand who we are and what we wish to become.

The origin of the project’s name is the scientific proposition that other planets can be made inhabitable through a process of terraformation. It means that climate can be induced through artificial means. Not only do I find the idea of humans as creators of a twin planet a fascinating prospect, I also see it as a metaphor for the future self. Rather than seeing the possible colonisation of another planet as an escape from our responsibility for the Earth, I see potential for increasingly higher forms of creative and scientific innovation. Yet for a brighter future to be possible, it is really ‘Planet Self’ that needs to be terraformed first.

The images average at 29.5x29.5 cm and are printed onto high quality photo paper with high quality ink.


Please see Instagram @tightropedancer66 for exercises in this vein.