• Julia Sumzina

Geraldine Delay: The selfportrait for me is between creation and therapy.

Today is the birthday of the beautiful and creative person, Geraldine Delay. This young woman is an artistic person, interested in photography, cinema and performing arts. In the interview for La Notte she is talking about selfportrait project she made in instagram and her way in arts.


Like a Prayer series, @narcissgery


My name is Geraldine (Gery), I’m half French half romanian and proud of my origins. I grew up in the world of art. My mum was a ballerina and then ballet teacher and my father and grandpa love photography and filming. In France we have the famous comic books “Astérix&Obelix”. Obelix felt in the magic potion when he was little, so he kept power of the magic potion in him forever. I like to say that I felt into art when I was little. It’s in me forever.


I did 16 years of ballet, graduated from conservatory and 4 years of acting classes. I studied cinematography at the university and graduated with a master's degree.



Ose le Rose | The Neon Girl


The photography was around me since I was very young. I was the main character of photos and videos by my father and grandpa. When I get older I started to take photography myself, but only for me. I never thought I will do more as today. Today it’s a part of me. My phone is full of photography I took everyday, not only selfportrait but also life around me. I’m really visual person.


The serie inspired by the song Rain On Me by Lady Gaga


How can you characterize your photo project?

If I have to characterize my project I would say maybe for me it's something between creation and therapy.


The projet of “narcissgery” started with some friends' ideas. I was doing some creative selfportrait pictures for fun, because I have many ideas in my head, and posted in my instagram account. But my friends told me : “your photography are really cool, you should create an account just for them. Because they are lost in your feed.”.


By creating this account all became more “serious” in a way. I decided to challenge myself, trying to post every week. I have a new place to express my creativity. But also, because it’s selfportrait, it’s a therapy helping me dealing with my image, with my self confidence. I’m a shy person even if I’m very sociable. Doing selfportrait is a great exercise to be more confident.


Show me your shadow, I’ll show you my sunshine | Princess des milles et une nuit. I used a survival blanket to create this dress


The period of self isolation made many people to try themselves in home photography, has something changed to you this year?

It was great to see so many people trying selfportrait. Also it's very inspiring! So many great and beautiful ideas ! I would lie if I say it don’t question myself a bit. The problem of our society is we are pushed to compare ourself to other. So self isolation was sometimes hard for me too. I always wonder my work, “is it good enough ?” or “look, how many great artists are doing better than you” . But in the same time it makes me wanna do better. I’m a bit perfectionist, it’s never good enough. What helped be a lot is this challenge of posting every week. I had to do. To create. And with quarantine I had time to do it. So looking at other works made me sad in the first place and then make me inspired and push to do more. I really think Art is necessary to the world, to people and, most of all, to me.


La fumeuse


What inspires you?

Honestly, everything. It can be some photography from artist I follow on instagram, or movies I watch. I love visual art. For exemple, I love the aesthetics of Xavier Dolan (subject of my these for my master degree), Wong Kar Wai, Michel Gondry, Tim Burton... they have their own universes. Painting can be great inspiration: I love to go to the exhibitions. Musician are great inspiration too: David Bowie, Lady Gaga, Harry Styles... again, peoples with visual world. Recently I discovered the universe of drag queen and I love it ! So much kindness, so much creativity.. and glitters !


I talked a lot about art but it can be also objects or clothes (I love fashion shows and photo shoots). I buy a lot of stupid things , thinking “oh yes this can be interesting for my portraits”. My mum now gets used to it , but she always laughs at me like “again?! Curious to see what crazy idea you have in mind”. She is a real support.


Basically everything can inspire me.


Theme Serie: the Four Elements


What about photographers, who can you call an “icon” in photography?

This is a hard question. I’m really bad at names. I love to look for new artist, even if they aren’t “icons”. I mean Instagram is full of great talented people.


If I go with famous photographers, I feel really close to Cindy Sherman. Also like the work of Helmut Newton, Annie Leibovitz, Man Ray or David Lachapelle. I can tell also Bettina Rheims because I went to the great exhibition once in Paris.


In Instagram I love the works by Damon Baker, Kihmberlie, Vivienne Mok, Jessica Roger (Accalmia)...


Exemple of other theme : 4 seasons (winter on the left, autumn on the right)


What can you say about the psychological aspect of taking selfportraits?

I think in selfportrait you have to separate “selfie” (doing photography of yourself) and autoportrait (using your image as a support to creativity). That’s also why I choose the name “narcissgery” for my account : so I make fun of myself taking only me myself and I. Yes, taking selfportrait can be narcissist. But It can be more. For me it’s really a place to express myself and create.


Also it’s a therapy. When you take your own portrait, you also are vulnerable. It’s your image. When you don’t have a lot of self confidence, like me, it’s a great exercise do confront yourself to your image. You learn to look at yourself in a different way, to like part of you. To be kind with yourself.


RuPaul (famous drag queen) say: «if you can’t love yourself, how the hell are gonna love somebody else?» that’s totally true! And that’s what photography can give you: love of yourself. I think people with lack of confidence should definitely try to do a photo shoot with a professional artist or try the selfportrait exercise.


If you take away the narcissism, you can find the happiness of your soul.


Wildflowers


What about the future for you?

Instagram is really a kind community. I met great people (like you, Julia), and amazing artist. They make me wanna do more project and create more. Also I (finally) wanna try to be model for another photographer. That’s for me a new step in my therapy. When I do selfportrait, it’s just me with me. With someone else, you have to trust the kind eyes of the photographer and accept to expose yourself. I’m really shy but I want to try ! That’s my new challenge !


Shot for a photography contest. Theme: light. (Arrived in 2nd place)


Interview: Julia Sumzina

Photos: Geraldine Delay


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