Here at It’s Nice That, we’ve covered photographer Hollie Fernando a staggering seven times and counting (this is the eighth). From a series on her younger brother’s pre-teen years, to capturing Es Devlin for last summer’s issue of Printed Pages, Hollie really needs no introduction on this platform. Despite this, in all the times we’ve written about the Instagram blue-ticked photographer we’ve never seen a series of self-portraits from the London-based artist, until now.
In a personal project titled 10,000, for the first time in her established career Hollie turns the camera on herself. The project came about in a peculiar fashion when Hollie forgot how old she was. “Funnily, it all started late one night when I couldn’t remember my age and I had to google myself to work it out," she tells It’s Nice That. "I thought I was 26 but it turns out, I’m actually 27 and I was a bit sad at having lost a whole year of my life just like that.”
As she googled her date of birth, she found a website that tells you precisely how many minutes, hours and days you have been alive for. The website told her she’d been alive and breathing for 9979 days. “I thought this was a weird sign. As I was randomly pondering my age just as I was about to fall asleep, I realised I had enough time to pull together a little project on my 10,000th day on earth.”
For 10,000, Hollie’s experience of shooting herself was “a very calm experience.” Hardly speaking all day, she went about her every day activities, taking time to play around with what she wanted to capture. Intending to document exactly how she was at that moment in time, Hollie views the series as a way to remember herself on her 10,000th day and in turn, how her great great grandchildren will think of her.
For Hollie, the strangest part of the process came with not being able to view the photo’s composition before taking the picture. “I’ve never experienced that before”, she adds, “I had no idea what I looked like or if I was in focus. I assumed I was wasting film but at the same time, I enjoyed the potential of that possibility as it would have been real.”
All in all, taking the self-portraits became a freeing process for the photographer. “I can be a bit nuts on shoot, my brain goes a million miles per hour while rolling all over the floor shooting other people." Whereas this project reminded Hollie of the joys of taking photographs free from pressure. As the least demanding project she’s ever embarked on, 10,000 fundamentally became “a nice breather from the ‘job’ of being a photographer," refreshing Hollie to remember the importance of personal projects which are just as valuable as the paid ones. With the hopes of continuing the series every 10,000th day, let’s hope we can live to see her third self-portrait series on her 30,000th day at the ripe old age of 82.
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