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POLLY PENROSE, decoding body language

Words by Lula Criado




Verbal communication is a human ability that involves sounds, signs and symbols. It helps us express ourselves but, what if instead of these sounds, signs and symbols we make use of our own body to communicate how and what we feel? 

Body language is a kind of communication in which feelings are expressed through nonverbal communication such as body posture, movements or the use of a particular space. London-based visual artist and photographer Polly Penrose has been decoding her particular body language for the last seven years. By utilising her body as an artistic medium she has created the project A Body of Work, a brilliant example of what body language is.

A Body of Work, a powerful collection of self-portraits taken on self-timer in quiet and forgotten locations, is an emotive and intimate journey through Penrose’s physical and emotional changes such as pregnancy, motherhood or the loss of her mother-in-law.




What is more important: to take or not to take yourself too seriously in order to be creative?

My first instinct was to say, definitely not to take yourself too seriously… but then I thought that’s not true. You must take your WORK seriously, to be flippant towards it I think is to belittle it. I did this for years, until I won a photography competition for the London Photographic Association which allowed me to believe in myself and my pictures, when previously I’d always mumbled about them and put them down. But I think taking your SELF too seriously is dangerous.

What’s your favourite time of the day?

Before having kids it was the morning when the day stretched out in front of you with all of its potential… right now, I have to say – I love the evenings when I’ve wrestled them into bed and I have the vague chance of a moment to my own thoughts…

Solitude or loneliness, how do you spend your time alone?

SOLITUDE… I long for time alone that isn’t spent throwing duplo back into boxes and washing tiny clothes. When I get some time back I will spend more time in the country breathing fresh air and looking at the sunset. Also, meandering around markets hunting out trinkets. Perhaps looking at some of the books on the bookshelves, going to the sea, climbing a tree…. anything and everything!

Have you found beauty in unexpected places/situations?

Constantly. It’s what keeps me alive.

What do you want to achieve before you die?

I want to see my children grow into interesting, INTERESTED people. To see the northern lights and swim in a phosphorescent sea. To see the white horses in the ballroom in Vienna, to learn to swing dance, to visit a LOT of different countries, and to publish ‘A Body of Work’ when I can no longer move to photograph myself and it’s finished.

One for the road… What are you unafraid of?

Growing old.

(Photos courtesy of the artist)
On Key

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