Chelsea A. Stevens Freelance photographer and journalist
Born September 28, 1988 | Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Current city: Fredericton, New Brunswick
I was born and raised in Nova Scotia. I graduated with distinction in May 2010 with a Bachelors degree in journalism and political science from St. Thomas University. I am currently completing an advanced diploma in photography at the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design.
Art has always been a part of my life. My father painted, drew, and took photographs. He often encouraged me to do the same, sitting with me in our living room while he showed me how to create shadows and form while I was a child. It was his old Practika LTL 3, his camera from the late 70s when he was close to my age now, that I first picked up and began to experiment with photography. With my father’s old camera, which I still have, I was able to hold the back panel open while I played with the different shutter speeds, noting the difference in each one. I remember falling in love with the ability of the camera to capture an image as I saw it, and the satisfying clicking sound the old shutter made. As I have grown older, my love for that ability to capture a single moment has grown with me.
I have upgraded from that old Practika to a digital Canon SLR, which has allowed me to take a larger volume of photographs, though without the satisfying sound the shutter made. With the ability to capture an almost unlimited amount of photos, I have been able to experiment more and expand my artistic horizons. Those initial interests in being able to capture a single moment have also expanded as my academic environment has introduced me to so many new ideas and concepts. My interests have always lied in art as a form of history and a unique method of documentation. However, being a journalism student has heightened my sense of art as history, through working as a photojournalist with the New Brunswick Beacon and independently building a photojournalism portfolio.
Recently, my work has centred on ideas of anxiety and coping mechanisms. It came to my attention that a behaviour I had always dismissed as a bad habit is actually a mild form of obsessive compulsive disorder, as I discovered the name for it and did my own research on compulsive skin-picking disorder. I feel it is important to show these images because I am so vulnerable in them and feel vulnerable showing them. This correlates with how vulnerable I feel when I am picking. I kept this secret for 10 years because I was, and still am, ashamed of it. By showing these images, I hope to draw attention to not only a disorder I share with thousands of others so they may recognize it as well; I also hope to create a dialogue with those standing in front of each image so they may examine their own behaviours.
By completing an advanced photography diploma, I will sharpen my artistic abilities and hone my artistic vision with the skills I have acquired and refined through the study of journalism.