Born at the turn of the century, eighteen year old chocolate-ice-cream-eating and mom to seven cats, Jéad Stehr captures her reality through the photographic lens. In between working for a record label and the occasional episode of American Gods, the young artist explores social and gender issues through her practice of poetry and photography.
“At about the age of nine or ten I started writing stories and poems, things like that. I also started entering them in competitions.” Instead of putting the traditional pen to paper, “I like typing things”. She often stores an entire anthology on her cell phone. Initially writing down her stream of consciousness and then engaging in a rigorous editing process afterwards: carving out the words until a poem is fully formed.
Two years later, Jéad began her photography career after pocketing her dad’s camera. “After I took my dad’s camera…one of the videographers came down from I think Nigeria. He saw me playing around with the camera and he said ‘nah girl, you need to learn how to use this camera properly.’ So he like sat me down and gave me a whole day for the basics on how to shoot and change settings on this camera. Then I just felt so committed to it.”
Thematically, her work revolves around the notion of self-narration. “I focus a lot on the things going on around me. Majority of the work is a reflection of what has happened to me…A series I did called Femme looked at the duel sides of femininity. In masculinity there can be femininity – the two shouldn’t be separated from one another. It was a whole video project as well as a photo series…I painted the entire room pink, it was the first concept shoot I ever did. Like I stole cactuses from neighbours in the middle of the night – I wanted to create an image by filling the whole space.”
“That’s what I love doing, tying all the concepts to my own life.” Through this project and micro-residency she hopes to, “inspire other people to take the youth seriously and invest in local talent as well.”
thank you for telling me what to feel.
who to be. what to do.
working together can be a learning experience. we both get what we want.
you need me to do a task i perform it. carry it through. create life from dry husks.
fix. refix. adjust. simplify. capture. waste time.
“it’s easy work”
“i promise it will be quick”
“i need a favor”
“i need you”
words that seduce you into it.
working relationships with you will never be equal.
in your eyes i can complete everything you want.
in your eyes you also see me bound to the work.
never asking for gratitude, a reward. something in return.
in your eyes you’ve earned the privilege to demand miracles.
you expect it to be done.
in your eyes i’m both reliable and unreliable.
crucial when needed, forgotten ignored when the task is done.
i fall into the trap of the servile nature.
the answer to the
“how can we make it work?”
“who will do this?”
“i have a vision but can’t complete it.”
the answer to questions not even asked.
i become so use to it.
i think 10 steps ahead.
i offer help. i take the blame. the insults.
the difficult parts that
“no one else could do”
expectations are constant.
don’t meet them. fail.
i caused you to fail.
accusations. understanding is for others, but for me there will be none.
our relationship so ancient in its chains of obedience.
one way talk.
“you have not been recognized.”
“you have not said that.”
ideas grown from my brain, branded with another name.
shift blame. who will be next?
take this. carry that. work. harder. push yourself. worn out.
“you have no reason to be tired”
eat healthier. have fun. enjoy your life.
“what else could you possibly want to do?”
“you would be bored at home”
bored. boring. synonymous with peace.
a lifestyle i wish for.
sacrifice your boredom for the profit of others.
expect nothing in return.
so that when they thank you it’s a surprise instead of common courtesy.
did you really think they would see you as anything more than a step, mule, tap, slave.
remember respect is for others not you.