Diary of a Woman

She started photographing when she was recovering from a spinal injury, more or less to relieve boredom. Her first photographs were raw pictures of herself, a visual diary of her frustrations and pain. But Navarro’s artistic journey did not end when she recovered. It was only the beginning of an impressive oeuvre of self portraits, intense, sometimes cathartic images of a woman.

Using your own face and body to expose, to abuse and transform, is a very intimate way to communicate with your public. Especially when subjects like rape, pain and fear are used. It changes the perspective, makes the image even more charged, knowing it’s the artist herself on display. Although many of her images are quite heavy, almost psychological portraits, there is also an other side. Not all her photographs are based on negative emotions, on the contrary, some are ‘just’ sensual or even lighthearted. Browsing trough the enormous collection of portraits, it feels like you are witnessing her life, getting a glimpse of her experiences, thoughts and feelings. Navarro’s work just can’t leave you untouched, it will lower your defenses, haunt you, or just leave you standing there in adoration.

Most images are self portraits, how does it feel to show yourself to your audience, in sometimes quite heavy images, like your rape series?
Well, it comes very natural to me, really, as I began photography with self portraiture. I was recovering from illness and my boyfriend at the time gave it to me as a gift. I couldn’t go out some days, especially when I was sick as well. So I stayed inside and took very raw photos of myself. Now I take self portraits with the same inspiration – my life and how I process it; photography has become a natural part of that, sort of like doing my dirty laundry. It’s pretty cathartic. I also like the intimacy of self portraits – they are really immediate and in your face; nobody can convey the emotion or situation like I can.

Is your work and creation process in a way chastening?
Yes, often I am purging with my work – much of it is very personal. But often it is just a larger sort of feeling of empathy, I guess, with the human condition; more specifically, with women. I’m not always haunted in a negative way, necessarily, but there is always a strong emotion that spawns any image I produce. It seems like a compulsion, almost…when life does what it does, my fingers just get itchy for my camera like other people reach for a bottle.

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