From stockpiling to masturbation, photographer Bex Day playfully turns the lens on herself to stay creative and curious in quarantine
Blending documentary ideals and fashion aesthetics, photographer Bex Day’s work intimately captures her subjects in moments of vulnerability, rawness, and open-hearted individuality. In her recent work Hen, she deftly captured the older transgender community and the stereotypes they have fearlessly defied. Now, against the backdrop of the global pandemic, she is looking inwards and has turned the camera on herself.
“I wanted to make intimate images that people can connect to as we are currently living in such a state of disconnect right now in many ways,” she tells Dazed Beauty. “Although we are more connected than ever through technology, physically we are detached.”
Struggling to make sense of what is happening around us and on lockdown in west London, Day took to self-portraiture to help process the horrors and uncertainty that we are experiencing across the globe, and brought us Seesaw. Asking questions about mental health and relationships in uncertain times, each self-portrait in Seesaw centres around a motif that has arisen during this period – from stockpiling to masturbation, to her heightened concern for the health of her mother who is high risk, and the challenges her OCD has brought to life in a pandemic.
“My OCD has flared up a great deal but I try to always focus on being kind to myself. I wanted this to be one of the main points in making Seesaw – to demonstrate the highs and lows of emotions during this time period, a comment on the nature of the human condition,” Day says. “There are positives and negatives of every situation and it’s vital to remember that equilibrium can always be achieved, no matter how hard the situation is.”
The planning and creating of work for this project, she says, has also given her some much needed focus and structure to her days, a way to keep grounded amid the uncertainty and an opportunity to step out of her usual territory as she searches for new locations for the series. “It keeps me curious and dedicated. It helps to keep my overactive mind busy,” she says.
When quarantine ends, Day says she is looking forward to showing an exhibition of Seesaw and continuing work on a new series she has started called Petal which celebrates the uniqueness of the vagina. “And also touch everyone in sight!” she adds. And, until that time comes, her advice is to keep busy, stay kind to yourself and if you’re feeling uninspired remember not to put too much pressure on yourself. “Stay curious, read things you didn’t have time to read before the pandemic happened, sort out things you’ve been neglecting for a while, set yourself one task you want to complete per day whether that’s DIY, work or personal commitments. If you know you need to work on a specific area of your portfolio then use this time to do so, and remember to stay calm.”