Homage to Petra Collins

Petra Collins:

She is a 25 year old photographer from Canada, much of her work focuses on the female gaze, what it means to be a modern woman and sexuality. She creates fine art photography as well as commercial and editorial work. Despite being just 25 she shoots for brands such as Gucci and Adidas and has collaborated with other young artists with the same focuses like Tavi Gevinson. Due to this her work has covered many wide audiences and is a part of the effort to change the harsh and damaging expectation placed on women. For all of these reasons I look up to Petra as an artist and as a person. She preaches self acceptance and uses her work as a way to do so. She has also constantly used her work to open up a conversation about female sexuality. Beyond her content and intent, her craft is something of wonder and beauty. Each of her images has a soft dreamy quality that makes her work stand out to me.


With this piece, currently untitled, I first wanted to use my inspiration for Petra Collins to go about my craft in a new manner. In the past the vast majority of my work has been in the vain of sharpness and high contrast with minimal backgrounds. With this piece I want to explore the softness of Petra work. I went for a diffused light source paired with color gels to get a soft colorful light similar to Petra’s. I wanted to continue with this so I used a camera trick to enhance the hazy diffused light in camera. As for the environment I also took inspiration from Petra, many of her images are taken in mundane areas such as bedroom or barber shops to enhance the narratives with in her photos. I knew I wanted to make a self portrait regarding myself within my personal space, my bedroom, from the first brainstorm. So I set up in my own bedroom. During the brainstorming process I wrote a poem, I decided that I wanted to make a visual representation of the poem that I wrote based off of the original image idea I had in my head. This piece feels complete with the poem and I feel they must go together. I placed the poem on top for this reason. The words in the poem help to fully understand the image I made. I feel very proud of this work. This process of looking to another artist for inspiration felt very natural for me due to that I feel I made a piece that really does communicated myself to the viewer.  

The feedback I got from the online peer review was helpful to me to become clearer on the intent of my actions while making this.

Full poem featured on the image:

I’ve been in a rut,

So I plugged my ears

And hit my head.

I read little bits of gold,

Written by a girl I wish to be.

A girl I feel I am on the inside.

A girl I haven’t learned to let out.


Plug my ears

and Close my eyes

I don’t want to see you cry.


So I swallow it.

I chew on it.

I peel my hair beds raw


Remain silent on the phone

And I swallow it.


Cause I can’t open my eyes

And unplug my ears

To the ripping of your soul

And the tearing of mine.


I must be torn to grow.

Torn to my spine

So I can start over.


So I can unplug my ears

And open my eyes

To see myself

To hear myself.


She’s been trapped for years,

Only comes out in the spring.

When she’s become too irritated from the year of

Closing her eyes

And plugging her ears.


She strips.

She bleaches.

She emerges for an instant.


The weather warms,

Her legs grow thick

And she begins to hide again.


Now with a raw spine

And a bleached body

The girl thats been hiding

Is ready to be seen.


Sitting on a throne of yellow

Surrounded by the artificial green of home,


She peaks out for this years spring.

To unplug her ears

And to open her eyes

To herself once more.


This year she’s more comfortable.

She sits in her raw spine with ease

And only chews down one nail bed

Instead of two.


She is unplugging her ears

And opening her eyes,

In the warm air she wont go back into hiding.  


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