Jocelyn Allen, photographs from two projects

Jocelyn’s Allen’s self-portraiture explores, with poise, the blurred borders between self-exposure, exploration and protection. We present photos from two of her recent collections, Covering the Carpet (2014) and Amalgamated Anomalies (2014-15). 

Jocelyn told us that she made Covering the Carpet in the second year of her MA at LCC: ‘It followed two projects (Your Mind & Body Is All That You’ve Got parts I and II) that were about learning to accept myself and my body. The first part had a bit of nudity, whereas the second one had more. If I hadn’t made those projects I wouldn’t have been able to do this one – or at least I would have made it, but been very uncomfortable about showing it.’ 
As often happens, the work was prompted by a change in circumstance. Jocelyn moved to a smaller flat, and had less space to make work, but – luckily, for the view at least –  her flatmate was often out. ‘My natural reaction was to take off my clothes and jump around in the hallway. I found that I didn’t mind being nude in the photographs but I was very weary about showing my pubic hair and genitals – partly because people already reblog my pictures on porn sites when they’re not meant to be sexual at all, partly because of a shame that I seemed to have of this area.’ 
So, she decided to address this, in an illustration of her work’s ability to take on anxieties, or societal pressures, through exposure that she controls: ‘the project became a performance in concealing this area – hence Covering The Carpet.’ 
The second project, Amalgamated Anomalies, is the first to directly address, and mainly focus on, anxiety, though Jocelyn says that it is present, ‘runs through’, all of her work. ‘Since moving to London in late 2010, I primarily made self-portraits in my bedroom, as I have been too scared to make them outside.’
However, she had one rule – designed to mediate this anxiety, to try and get herself out: ‘I told myself that as long as I could make images that I had not made before, I was allowed to stay inside, so for the project I desperately searched for ways to make new photos in the same space as Covering The Carpet.’ She couldn’t, and so ‘the project came to a natural end when I forced myself to photograph myself outside.’
The photographs are wonderful, experimental, and varied – but they definitely illustrate a concerted effort to find new things, new poses, new disguises. It is through this, the repetition through diversity, that the work describes anxiety. When we’re anxious, after all, we become almost fiendishly creative in avoiding what we fear.
True to her word, Jocelyn’s latest project, Neblina (2015-2016), was shot outside.
You can find more of Jocelyn’s photographs on her website.