In Self-Untitled, Samantha Geballe (b. 1988, USA) pulls us in close. Focused on her physicality, the project of self-portraits shows a period of three years marked by dramatic change, alternating between a state of obesity and a body half its original size.
The series is not, however, a documentation of weight-loss. Rather, Geballe explores through photography the impact of the corporeal on her internal experience. She came to recognise the functions of her obesity, and how she used it as a way of creating a protective buffer between herself and others. In absence of that, she found herself vulnerable to truly being seen, as well as faced with a new dilemma: “Who am I if not the fat person?”
Geballe realised she was doing more than changing her body and her health, she was reinventing her experience, altering dramatically the way that other people saw her and treated her, and changing the person that she saw in the mirror. Photography became a visual aid to her introspection, as she examined her struggle with self-acceptance. She explains: “I take self-portraits as a way to reverse perspective from how I see myself to my interpretation of how I am seen by others.”