Selina Mayer is a fine art photographer in our RAW studios in Beckton. Her work has been published by Juxtapoz Magazine, Latent Image and BLUR, to name a few. She recently collaborated with film artist David McNulty when he made a film based on her work called ‘East of Eden Caught in A Film on Film’, screened at the Open City Documentary Festival , Barcelona Film Fest and our very own RAW Lab .
‘A Film on Film’ is a short documentary shot on super 8mm in black and white. The subject matter is one of the core investigations within Selina’s practice: is there a link between the sexualisation of the naked form and the ease in which we acquire images in the digital age? Mcnulty takes clips from behind the scenes at Selina’s shoots and interview excerpts, revealing her process and reasons behind her self-inflicted technical constraints:
I don’t do any post-production on my photographs beyond the simplest of tonal adjustments. Any dust left on my prints or negatives is left as I found it.
By refusing to re-touch or edit any of her work, she presents the finished object as genuine evidence of her process, leaving a trace of herself and her actions within each photograph. Selina comes from a family of creatives, and she attributes much of her influences to them:
My father is a photojournalist who worked for the Workers Press during the 70s and 80s, and my mother was an artist who was miscellaneously creative, turning her hand to almost anything.
Another figure who has left an imprint has been Levin Haegele; a foundation course tutor, and well-established artist. As Selina’s tutor, he expanded her view of art from a traditional painting mind-set to the work she makes today. Her next project marks her 6 week road trip across America with muse and artist Roarie Yum. Through a series of portraits and self-portraits they embarked on a journey to discover and understand a niche community of art models, who are making a career for themselves and making the rules as they go. The human figure has been a studied subject in art since prehistoric times, so it should not be so surprising that it still exists today. What is interesting is that in our modern age amongst sexualisation of the naked form, these models are creating a professional environment where the usual rules of body conformity do not apply. Whilst other industries are just beginning to battle these issues, art models are creating the rules themselves, and with it a safe space for artists and models to study and explore the human form.
From this study trip, Selina is making a hand-bound book exploring her muse in the traditional sense, but also delving into this community of art models. Since studying at Central St Martin’s she has created a significant following on social media, but also a platform called Patreon ; a website which brings the idea of patrons of the arts into the 21st Century with a crowd-funding twist. Patrons from across the globe sponsor Selina to continue making her work in exchange for prints, books and weekly updates on her practice. She attributes some of her success to this way of engaging with the public:
Social media helps, but you have to have a consistent and active presence in order for it to have any effect. I try to make sure I have a spectrum of work in terms of affordability; this way people from all sorts of backgrounds can support me. I sell prints, hand-bound books and postcards.
You can keep up to date with her latest work through her website and other platforms below:
Bow Arts is committed to supporting communities and artists, offering affordable, top-notch creative workspaces at 12 sites across London to help creatives to thrive and grow their practices. If you’re an artist, designer or maker who’s interested in our studios, find out more and apply here!