In any given situation, it can be extremely difficult to make someone else feel the emotions that you are feeling through words. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” at least a thousand times, but in this case, it’s truer than truth itself. The “Undressed Mind”, is a series of photographs based off photographer, Sierra Marin, ‘s own fears and phobias. Each piece in the series is meant to be perceived by a different character, and coincidentally every photo makes you feel as if you are that character experiencing it firsthand.
Sierra was raised in the small town of Bourne, Massachusetts. At 18 years old, Sierra moved to Boston to pursue a career in photography. Graduating just last week from the New England School of Photography (NESOP), Sierra Marin graduated with two fine art bodies of work, “The Undressed Mind” and “Only Human”.
Laura Knapp: Knowing you as a person, it is a strange but funny juxtaposition that your project “The Undressed Mind” is so dense and frightening when you are very sweet and caring. What inspired you to make staged crime scene photography?
Sierra Marin: I was first inspired by an instructor I had at NESOP who was teaching his class all the different ways we could make money with photography. When he mentioned forensic photography, I was amazed. I could see myself doing that and being happy.
LK: Are you still interested in pursuing forensic photography or have you found a new passion in creating your own crime scenes?
SM: No, I am more interested in seeing my work on gallery walls. I would love the opportunity to do forensic photography, but I don’t have the funds to pursue it at the moment.
LK: The use of human bodies, props, and gore were prominent features of this project when you first started. I got the opportunity to watch your project constantly transform as you slowly took away the previously mentioned elements, and in the process, created more disturbing images. Can you expand on the transition from the beginning of your project until present day?
SM: Looking back at where I started, I feel very naive. I would put fake blood all over my legs and make my boyfriend (at the time) pretend to be a murderer. It wasn’t until I brought my work into class to get critiqued that I realized I was not getting the reaction I wanted, so I moved on to props. I went scouting almost every day and soon enough, my scouting pictures became more frighting than anything I had previously composed. That was my biggest turning point.
LK: Who were your biggest influences when creating this body of work?
SM: Most of my pieces I thought up on my own. I either took them from something I was afraid of or something I remembered seeing in the past. However, I was very inspired by Melanie Pullens work, as well as Weegee.
LK: Is “The Undressed Mind” a finished body of work or is this just the beginning for you?
SM: I don’t believe I’m finished. I have too many knew ideas brewing.
LK: The topic of self-portraiture is common on She Is Sure. Did you ever consider using yourself as a model for these photographs, or are they already self-portraits without you physically being in the frame?
SM: I have absolutely thought about putting myself in this series. In almost every shoot I create, I first picture myself as the model and then I find someone else who I think will not only make the picture better, but also make it seem more realistic.
LK: With your evident mastery of lighting and mood, could you ever see yourself working on the set of a horror or thriller movie?
LK: Last, but not least, how did you go about choosing the title for “The Undressed Mind”?
SM: My title come from a song called “One Sweet Love”. The lyric reads “I undress my mind and dare you to follow…”. I was listening to the song while making my blog and the title stuck. I think it’s beautiful and in the right context, terrifying.
For more of Sierra Marin’s work please visit: http://www.sierramarin.com/