A renowned photographer, gifted with her first camera at sixteen, Catherhea Potjanaporn burgeoned on this path from mere passion to a praised career. Potjanaporn’s images aspire to normalise everyday people beyond the novelty of the mainstream media.
WHAT IS THE MESSAGE YOU HOPE AUDIENCES TAKE AWAY FROM YOUR IMAGES?
I want people to feel seen and to be seen in a good light, to feel positive when they see someone or something that looks like them. People who get made fun of, constantly ignored, or people who aren’t taken seriously. I think when you rarely see people like that, you tend to put them into this sort of novelty image; like they’re just a joke or not real. By putting people into the light, it highlights that there are people that look like this; they come in many different shapes, sizes and forms.
My personal goal is not to glorify per se but just to normalise it. Normalise the gays, whether it’s a dark-skinned person, a fat person, a queer person, etc. I really don’t think that anything I do is that extraordinary— It’s just people. People come from different walks of life regardless of how they look, they don’t have to fit into one single narrative.
WHAT IS YOUR ARTISTIC PROCESS WHEN IT COMES TO TRANSLATING YOUR CONCEPTS?
My process is inspired by people and what’s happening now. It’s just my observation portrayed through my art. Sometimes I have a feeling or an idea of what I want to say and I’ll start to think “How can I best showcase this emotion or this message?” For some concepts, I’ll talk to the people I’m interested in, ask them questions and based on their answers I’ll think they’re right for the shoot.
TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR CURRENT PROJECT.
It’s called ‘Divine Retribution,’ focused on the feelings of trauma survivors; survivors who’ve experienced sexual assault. That project is to validate their feelings and emotions that are considered negative in a world that’s very ‘pseudo-positive.’ I wanted survivors to know that it’s okay to have those feelings despite what people may tell them. I feel most times survivors are always made to “get over it or move on” or “you’re being negative.” Trauma is that it’s not a switch but something that you need to look at and process it, in order to fix it and that takes time.