Women are complex creatures who wear many hats. If asked, most could describe themselves in a variety of ways such as friend, mom, wine enthusiast, career professional, or fitness fanatic to name a few.
Photographer Christine Woodard is no different. The wife, mother of two, dog owner, business professional, and coffee drinker is also a lover of things that go bump in the night. This year, Woodard decided to dig deeper into her psyche and push the boundaries of self-exploration. Her current photography project describes who she is in 52 themes represented by 52 female models.
In this fascinating self-portrait project, Woodard takes a weekly photograph of herself without ever stepping in front of the camera. Instead of her physical likeness, viewers will encounter a new woman each week who encapsulates one attribute of Woodard’s essence, fantasies, dreams, and states of mind. “A self portrait does not necessarily need to contain your face or even your body -- it could be but a mere insinuation of you hidden in the bottom left corner,” explains Woodard.
Fifty-two personality traits is no small feat and Woodard is undergoing new levels of self-discovery in the process. “Some I am very familiar with, some I am still uncovering,” she shares. Just as varied as her themes are her models as they include senior citizens, members of the military, students, career professionals and stay-at-home moms.
I had the distinct pleasure of visiting her home, enjoying a cup of coffee, eating homemade German pastries, and modeling her theme of Singularity. Leading up to our shoot, Woodard developed and shared a mood board with wardrobe, hair, lighting and poses, so that I could gain insight. When in front of the camera, she provided me with excellent direction while allowing a bit of my personality to shine through as well.
Not your every day glamour shot, her images are often otherworldly. Inspired by a thin line between fantasy and reality, some feature levitation, subjects in duplicate, heavy play of light and dark and an air of mystery. Completed themes include Gate Keeper, Candy Queen, Magic, and even Draculian. “I am very attracted to the peripherals of accepted beauty, the weird, obscene, unsettling ‘things’ that exist,” reveals Woodard. While looking through her body of work you may recognize inspiration drawn from Man Ray’s surrealist photography or Tim Burton’s films.
What I find intriguing is that self-portraits typically conjure up ideas of independence, solitude and isolation, whereas Woodard’s work encourages communication, collaboration and community. That day I drove down for my photo shoot, I brought two of my friends who had not yet met her in person, but corresponded online to model the themes of Imaginary Companion and La Femme. Just like I did, they hit it off with Woodard and became friends, perhaps because they saw a little of themselves while portraying her characters. By branching out for this project, Woodard gets to know other women while getting to know herself.
She explains, “My ultimate goal is to create what I see in my mind and feel within. I would like to communicate my personal truth, my personal story, and if people enjoy my art and are touched by it, I will feel like I have achieved something.”
This work in progress provides a glimpse into Christine Woodard’s experience in this incredibly mysterious world -- and viewers are in for a real treat.
About Christine Woodard
A native of Bogota Colombia, Woodard’s photography pursuits began at the age of 18 with an Analogue Canon Rebel ESO. “The camera was and has only been my true connection to my father. He was a mystery to me, a man I never really got to know. He was an avid amateur photographer, and his love for photography was also given to me”. She attended La Tadeo in Bogota and learned the ins and outs of the old ways of the darkroom. She then furthered her education at the University of South Florida, where she earned a degree in Classical Studies. Today Woodard is based in Germany. She is the owner of Wooni Pixel and produces portraiture, event photography and videography for private and promotional purposes. Additionally, she is a stock photographer for Arcangel Images and 500px Prime. Her work has been featured in Vogue Italia and Wall Street International Magazine.
Her body of photography can be viewed online at www.woonipixel.com
Follow Woodard on social media at https://twitter.com/wooniphant
Her artwork is available for purchase at https://500px.com/Wooni and www.fineartamerica.com