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I-CUT by Debbie Castro

The Process

"They can pose as they wish. I ask them to look at the camera and I take one Polaroid; I do not give them a copy or take a second picture. I ask them to cut the image as they see fit-this is completely instinctive, there are no rules, no right or wrong, what will they do, how comfortable are they, what they do like or dislike about themselves, what they are saying about how they see themselves. I wait to capture their reaction. I take an image of the single polaroid as a record and give it to them where they then cut with a blade, cutting board and ruler if necessary. I put the result in an individual blue sandwich bag or paper bag to be stored in a box."

CM: Who are you ?

My name is Debbie Castro. I am an Irish photographer based in London with a Colombian husband who stole his surname!

CM: Where did your passion for photography start  and what did you study?

My passion started in my early 20's before digital times when I went travelling. I had completed a degree in Psychology and Psychoanalysis and wanted to converse without words. I found at times it was an easier way to express an emotion and to connect with people. I came back and lived in Dublin where I continued my studies. I did an MA in Photojournalism in Westminster as I was interested in the story.

CM: I-CUT - tell us about this project

I knew when I looked at my images after the MA that something was missing. Technically and storywise they worked but something was not right. People in my life were pushing me to move forward in that direction but something just made me stop. I was teaching Photography for almost 6 years and made the decision to have a child which made me stop and analysis and grow. I stopped taking images for one year but continually read, visited exhibitions and thought. I realized in London, after so long of working in it that time to stop and think is limited. It was refreshing for me, along with the growth emotionally, I embraced where I want to be and this is it.
This project came from before I was pregnant, as I realized I had very little images of myself including being naked, I passed my polaroid camera to my husband, who waved the camera and took a picture... so without thought and this really annoyed me. I kept the polaroid only to pull it out after a good period of time and to start cutting it up with a blade instinctually in a graphic way and I loved it.

I then photographed a famous supermodel and asked her to partake, which she did and it continued from there to my family and close friends and the results were so fascinating, I had to extend it.

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All images © Debbie Castro. All Rights Reserved © Creative Mapping.

CM: What are you hoping to achieve with this project?

Connection with the work, with the people and most importantly, the viewer with themselves.

CM: What were your biggest challenges in this project?

You know, I love challenges and there were none as such. Of course, I could say time or asking people to be naked or in their underwear but really this was not too bad but it was interesting how I felt, where I looked and that connection. Only one image was taken at a time, so that sometimes was a challenge when you are used to taking more also for the sitter but really all these are ideas that I want the viewer to engage in, including loss, letting go and seeing something better can become of it when you do!

CM: How did you gain the trust of your subjects?

I explain the process thoroughly top both men and women.

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All images © Debbie Castro. All Rights Reserved © Creative Mapping.

CM: How did you subjects react once they saw the pictures? Was it difficult for them to cut them?

Naturally, there were different reactions. Some people didn't want to cut it. others, spent time thinking and reacting to it and then cutting it.

It is interesting to look where the sitters chose to cut, I never asked why as that is not really important. It is the personal relationship to the process.

CM: What is next ?
Books are my passion so this would be natural to do next. I would like to continue this project and have another few ideas up my sleeve.

A portrait 2016-2017 is a commissioned portrait and I would like to continue on this path. Making huge framed portraits of both single people and of families. They are psychological portraits so after interacting with the person, I would create a portrait and using paint, tape, layering, and stitching to create a unique singular piece.

 I-CUT
11-13th of September 2018
11-6pm
Berdmonsey Project Space
183-185 Berdmonsey Street

London SE1 3UW

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