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© Ute Reckhorn

© Ute Reckhorn

Framing Solitude- My Journey from Isolation to Community in Art


  • 4 min read

Image 1- Sony a7riii | Velvet 56| 2.8 | 1/100 |320

When I first turned the lens upon myself, I found a solitary world within the viewfinder — a space that was both intimate and expansive. Unlike other art forms, self-portraiture isn't just about mastering the camera. It's a dive into the depths of your soul, a silent conversation with your innermost self. This journey often walks the line between solitude and revelation, making you feel isolated yet deeply connected to your own narrative.

n the many quiet hours spent alone, shaping and creating each self-portrait, I discovered that solitude can be a canvas for introspection. It's fulfilling, absolutely, but it can also amplify a sense of isolation, a reminder that this path I walk is often trodden alone. This solitude, inherent in the life of an artist, especially one who delves into self-portraiture, is a paradox. It's where creativity blooms in the quiet, but it can also feel like an echo chamber of one's own thoughts. In this space, I've forged my artistic identity, nurtured my voice, and created works deeply reflective of my inner world. Yet, in those same moments, I've longed for understanding and connection, a sense of belonging.

 

Image 2- Sony a7riii | Velvet 56| 2.8 | 1/100 |320


IWhen I first ventured into the world of social media, I carried a mix of hope and apprehension. Would my solitary art find resonance in the digital landscape? My journey online started with blog posts, engagement in forums, participation in photography groups, and teaching online classes. Gradually, I discovered a community of kindred spirits — artists who spoke the same visual language, who understood the solitude and the longing for connection.

Teaching my self-portraiture class since 2017 has been a turning point, not just in honing my craft but in fostering community. I found not just students, but fellow companions on this artistic journey. Supporting them, sharing experiences, and learning together became a passion, transforming the solitary act of creation into a shared experience. The more I opened up about my process, the more connections I formed. This online community became a safe space of support, weaving together artists from across the globe, each with their own unique voice and story.

 

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In my digital odyssey, Instagram has been a platform where I've discovered the most connections. There, I've discovered artists whose work I admire, newcomers seeking guidance, and souls who resonate with my artistic ethos. Instagram has become my favorite arena for offering support and encouragement. I dedicate a significant portion of my time to engaging with this community — responding to comments, fostering relationships through DMs, and sharing words of encouragement. Each interaction is more than just a digital exchange;it's a chance to truly understand and connect with incredible individuals from across the globe. This platform has transcended its virtual boundaries, bringing together a diverse group of artists and creating a supportive, inspiring space where we all can thrive. It's a testament to the power of social media in crafting a community that might never have met otherwise yet shares a profound bond through art and expression.

Despite their solitary work, artists yearn for connection, to feel seen, understood, and appreciated. We create in isolation, but our art is a form of communication, bridging our inner world with the outside. Digital platforms have become a sanctuary, balancing solitary creation with communal engagement. They allow us to share our final work and the journey behind it, fostering deeper connections through shared experiences and emotions

 

Image 4- Sony a7riii | Velvet 56 | 2.8 | 1/400 |320


Ultimately, this journey has taught me that while our art begins in solitude, it doesn't have to live there. Sharing our work, processes, and stories creates a community where each voice finds an echo in return. It's a place where the solitary nature of our work transforms into a symphony of shared experiences and mutual understanding. It's where we learn that our individual artistic journeys, though solitary in their creation, resonate with a chorus of voices seeking connection. In this digital world, I've found not just an audience, but a community of peers, mentors, and friends. Here, our solitary endeavors find communal meaning. We share, we connect, we grow together. This community reminds us that even in our most isolated moments, we're part of something larger — a collective of artists united by our shared passion for self-expression.

So to my fellow artists feeling the solitude of your craft, know this: Your voice, your art, your story — they matter. Share them. In the vastness of the digital world, there are souls who will find solace, inspiration, and kinship in your work. Together, let's turn the solitude of our art into a shared journey of growth, connection, and artistic exploration.

 

Image 5- Sony a7riii | Velvet 56 | 2.8 | 1/100 |320


 

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Elizabeth Willson

Sharon Covert resides in Tinton Falls, New Jersey. Brought up with a musical background, she taught piano lessons for over 20 years before studying and practicing photography as an art. Sharon has a strong focus on conceptual self-portraits and believes art has the power to heal. She is both enamored and inspired by fairytales, myths, folklore, nature, and all things magical. Sharon's self-portraiture combines anonymity, symbolism, surrealism, otherworldly elements, and pictorial qualities. She seeks to highlight the beauty in darkness. Like a page from a dark fairy tale in another world and time, Sharon aims to bring the viewer into her magical world. Sharon anonymously uses herself as the subject throughout her conceptual art to express her deepest darkest thoughts and secrets while transporting the viewer to the depths of her imagination. Sharon's work has been published and featured in numerous magazines and juried art exhibitions worldwide.

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