Selfmade: A Photographic Self-Exploration by Heleen van Royen
Selfmade is a book by Dutch novelist and columnist Heleen van Royen, published in 2014. It contains over 200 self-portraits that she took with her smartphone over a period of two years. The book is a candid and provocative exploration of her sexuality, aging, motherhood, and identity. Van Royen challenges the conventions and taboos of female self-representation and invites the reader to join her in her journey of self-discovery.
The book was inspired by van Royen's fascination with selfies and the possibilities they offer for self-expression and communication. She wanted to create a visual diary that would capture her moods, emotions, fantasies, and desires. She also wanted to confront her fears and insecurities about growing older and losing her attractiveness. She used various props, costumes, locations, and poses to create different scenarios and personas. Some of the images are playful, humorous, erotic, or artistic, while others are raw, intimate, vulnerable, or disturbing.
Selfmade received mixed reactions from critics and audiences. Some praised van Royen's courage, honesty, creativity, and humor, while others criticized her narcissism, exhibitionism, vulgarity, and lack of taste. The book was also compared to other works of female self-portraiture, such as Cindy Sherman's photographs or Lena Dunham's TV show Girls. Van Royen defended her project as a personal and artistic expression that aimed to challenge stereotypes and empower women. She also said that she enjoyed making the book and that it helped her to accept herself more.
Selfmade is a unique and controversial book that offers a glimpse into the mind and body of one of the most popular and provocative writers in the Netherlands. It is a book that challenges the reader to question their own assumptions and expectations about female sexuality and identity.One of the most striking aspects of Selfmade is the contrast between van Royen's public and private personas. As a successful and famous writer, van Royen is used to being in the spotlight and presenting a confident and glamorous image. She has written several best-selling novels, such as De gelukkige huisvrouw (The Happy Housewife), De ontsnapping (The Escape), and De mannentester (The Man Tester), that deal with themes such as marriage, infidelity, sexuality, and feminism. She is also known for her outspoken and controversial opinions on various topics, such as politics, religion, and culture. She has often been criticized for being too provocative, too vulgar, or too self-centered.
However, in Selfmade, van Royen reveals a different side of herself, one that is more vulnerable, insecure, and complex. She exposes her flaws, fears, doubts, and regrets. She shows her aging body, her scars, her wrinkles, her cellulite. She shows her loneliness, her boredom, her sadness, her anger. She shows her fantasies, her fetishes, her experiments, her mistakes. She shows her love, her passion, her joy, her humor. She shows herself as a woman who is not afraid to explore and express her sexuality in various ways. She shows herself as a woman who is not defined by her age, her appearance, or her status.
Selfmade is a book that challenges the norms and expectations of society and of oneself. It is a book that celebrates the diversity and complexity of female sexuality and identity. It is a book that invites the reader to reflect on their own self-image and self-esteem. It is a book that encourages the reader to be more open-minded and adventurous in their own lives. 061ffe29dd