2 minute read
Through Her Own Lens
FUJIFILM Collaborator Chinelle Rojas’ explains how her photography has grown through self-portraiture
Chinelle Rojas didn’t expect to become a photographer – in fact, she never really even picked up a ‘real’ camera until she was 21. Her husband, who was deployed in Afghanistan, had given her a DSLR to snap pictures of their toddler in his absence. Prior to that, there was a little point-and-shoot camera in her teenage years that was just for fun but, with the DSLR, something changed. With her husband away and relying on those images to document the growth and development of their son, Chinelle realized the power photography has for telling stories. She began to feel the authority and confidence that comes from creating visual stories with a true photography machine, and she realized this could become much more than a hobby; it could also become a career.
As Chinelle continued to build her skills and embarked on her career as a professional photographer, she focused on many different themes. For a while, she worked on empowering women through boudoir photography, then by photographing families as they documented the birth and growth of their children. But, for Chinelle, it always came back to self-portraiture.
“My one constant has always been self-portraiture, so that has been my main focus as of late and I love it,” she says. “When capturing my self-portraits, I’m often inspired by thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Sometimes, I find inspiration in my surroundings. You can find inspiration in the simplest things if you just allow your creative mind to run free.”
Back in Trinidad, where Chinelle and her family are now living after many years in Florida, her focus still remains on self-portraiture. One of Chinelle’s most recent projects includes images of herself with various natural foods displayed on or around her.
“In regard to this particular project, I was inspired by my family’s transition to a plant-based diet. It’s amazing how each food has different features and characteristics that portray a certain vibe and feeling and I really just tried to channel that into my self-portraits,” she says.
When reflecting on how photography has shaped who she has become, Chinelle says: “Photography has been, and continues to be, an outlet for me to express myself. It is fundamentally therapeutic for me to be able to create and has really helped me to cope through different emotions. I honestly don’t know where I would be if I didn’t have photography to channel my energy.”