We copyrighted the idea in 2012. The concept is simple. We identify emerging creatives, interesting people who we believe will be captivating to read about. We invite people to interview themselves and to take a selfie. The self-interview with selfie was inspired by an empirical tool specifically for use in memory studies research. Our idea was developed to overcome some of the practical limitations of one-to-one interviews and address a new type of journalism. We ask queer creatives & interesting people to interview themselves. The manner can be through storytelling, diary-keeping, questions, images, sound, or any other meaning of representation. We believe it is interesting what our guests wanna tell people about themselves avoiding the intrusion by another person. Today we invited Bobb Attard.
Some of these questions have been asked by some of my “close friends” on Instagram. It got the ball rolling for me to interview myself.
– What does photography mean to you?
I started expressing my visual creativity through photography, so I think it will always be the most important medium for me.
– How do you feel when you’re taking photos?
It depends on the scenario- when I’m alone, I use photography as a means of self-expression, experimentation, or just a way of killing time. When I’m photographing others, it’s just another form of socializing and connecting with someone. The older I get, the more I dislike photographing in a formal setting.
– Is there a message that you try to bring across through your self-portraits?
Very often, while I’m taking self-portraits, my brain is on autopilot- especially since the first lockdown. The whole mood and meaning behind the images are always really reflective of my frame of mind at that very moment- now, whether that comes across or not through external eyes, is another thing but on a personal level, I sometimes look back at some works and, I feel like I’m reading an old page from a journal.
– Due to the personal context of some of your work, do you sometimes fear putting them out in public?
Yes and no. I think photography is a perfect way of expressing vulnerability without feeling too vulnerable about it. On the other hand, I rarely share poetry because the way I write can be too explicitly expressive. On a social media setting, I feel like everything is very contrived and, we try our best to showcase the best aspects of our skills, lives, or on a superficial level, our best angles/bodies. I think there’s room for some rawer emotions.
– Do you think social media has changed the meaning of self-portraiture and turned it into something narcissistic?
I don’t think so. It’s true that social media exacerbated a whole culture of narcissism and turned it into a whole new level that I’m not quite ready for (and I don’t think I’ll ever be if I’m honest) but I think it’s easy to differentiate between influencers and artists.
– Nudity does seem to be a running theme in your work. Is there a message that you are trying to bring across through that?
Not particularly, but it does automatically end up sending a message simply by normalizing the human body. I come from a fashion photography background and, I also really love photographing drag, so for me, clothes can play a big part in the narrative. So if clothes don’t bring anything to the image, I take them (or most of them!) off- if the model isn’t comfortable with that, I generally insist on neutral clothes/colours. I think my Catholic upbringing subconsciously plays a role in my depiction of nudity- nudity was all over the art in the churches I used to attend every Sunday, yet it was still taboo growing up. At this point, it’s just something normal to me.
– Do you find it empowering to be nude in your images?
No- I mean, I’m much more comfortable than I was pre-lockdown, mainly because I stopped giving a shit and also realized how hypocritical it was to be ok with wanting to photograph all body types while being ashamed of my own. I don’t think much about it.
– Is there a reason behind obscuring your face in a lot of your work?
There are times where I’m using self-portraiture because I’ve got no one else to photograph (especially since the pandemic!), so it’s mostly my way of detaching myself from the body in the image. Sometimes, I even choose to photoshop my tattoos out!
But there are also some works where it symbolizes different things, especially in my older art. It was very representative of shame or fear. Sometimes it’s just my undying inspiration from Rene Magritte. It depends on the narrative and the image.
– Most important, drunk Paris or drunk Lindsay?
I think a drunk Lindsay Lohan is trying to come out in all of us. At the end of the day, if we’re linking things to religious art, isn’t drunk Lindsay Lohan just a modern-day version of St. Teresa by Gian Lorenzo Bernini?
Bobb Attard (b. Malta, 1988) is a visual artist and portrait photographer currently based in Prishtina. He graduated from The University of Westminster in 2014.
Since the age of 18, photography has been Bobb’s main creative medium. People, nature, literature and sound are his main sources of inspiration; his work often wanders among the complexities of the human brain while sometimes adding elements of absurdism, social parody and dark humour. Some of his influences include Claude Cahun, Francesca Woodman, Wolfgang Tillmans and Nan Goldin.