I have always felt very attracted by unconventional beauty, but at the same time I’ve never liked the word ‘unconventional’. We are all unconventional in our own way, we are human and we have the power to express beauty in various ways.
But the perception of beauty is often used and abused by the society we live in…
I am very pleased to present you Caitin Stickels, model, singer, and delicate soul. I invite you to read this interview and try to feel her with your eyes, as she wisely suggests.
Oh, I also asked Caitin to pick some of her fav pics and explain the feeling behind them, she added some of her captions she originally gave them from her own writing.
How would you introduce yourself?
Oh, mew! Greetings. I’m Caitin.
What is your own concept of beauty?
I believe authenticity is beautiful. When someone is uncompromising to the idea of changing themselves solely to appease others and instead live to love [most importantly, themselves], it shows true beauty as well as integrity. It’s absolutely beautiful to me. I am blown away when seeing someone simply be and breathe in humility of their own luminous splendor, but still remaining unchanged instead of trying to cater to the worlds ego.
What is the relation with your body? And with your mind?
My body is in hell. My mind is in hell. They keep one another good company there. Unfortunately for a while my sanity went with them and I was ready to go to hell, too. Something painfully spectacular struck me like a lightning strike and I began working harder on regaining my selkie skin while getting my message of authenticity to the world out there while I’m still miraculously here. Art is my salvation – for my body and my mind, in which I am not ungrateful for either one. Both are one of a kind, if not a bit burdensome to the host of said body and mind from time to time. All the more reason for art.
As a model, what can you tell me about self love and the relationship with your image?
I started out hiding from the camera when I was little. I was a pro, really. However, I was also my father’s most precious gift in life – a gift that would refuse to wear any form of pants or jeans until 10 years old. A little girl that loved to dress in flower girls gowns everyday, with frilly socks, maryjanes, gloves, a hat, and don’t you dare think I went without some kind of pearl accessory. Naturally my father wanted to photograph every moment. Oddly enough, I not only hid when I was aware, but I even hid actual photographs once they were developed. Face down on the desk, in a drawer, in the garbage…by the time i had reached my early pre teens, I was given my grandfather’s film and these weird new things called digital SLRS. I knew i had to get one. I knew I wanted to say something in a way that maybe people would actually listen. People used to make fun of my voice, even though now it’s a part of what gets me work and I’m in the process of a singing career. But, for a multitude of reasons, I felt the world was non-receptive to my message and hence perhaps art was a less controversial format. Oh, was I wrong, but I also couldn’t have been more right either. I began many types of photography, I loved extremely tight portraiture and macro lens shots of nature that looked like surreal paintings. I was once told I would be a good war photographer, that I’m not afraid to get in there.
I started taking self portraits as a way to accept myself the way I was trying to have the world accept itself.
Everything grew from there, although for the longest time, most people online didn’t know if I was real or some kind of fairy tale online.
What do you love the most about photography? And about being captured by this poetry of lights and shadows?
It’s a raw and organic way of capturing the soul. That’s partially because of the vulnerability it brings, too. It’s different than just looking at a person – what a soul can show a photograph without even trying is what makes it so magical.
We are living poetry. Light and shadow play as a canvas to our spirit.
Do you feel the tattoos on your skin enhance your body but also embellish your soul?
No, i often forget I have them. Far too often. People compliment my tattoos all the time when I’m out – “hey, sweet sleeve”, “nice leg!”, “beautiful work!” and it’s hard to realize that not all of these are cat calls, but people noticing my tattoos. Do you know the story of the Selkie and its skin? That’s how it began, for me. It’s not embellishment. It’s completion.
Can you tell me more about your tattoo choices? You seem very connected with nature.
My first piece was my chest piece. Fading fleeting and not for long living cherry blossoms with a baby butterfly cocoon hanging on one of the branches. Petals are falling and there aren’t as many flowers as there would usually be because they’re almost gone. But sitting above the broken cocoon is a luminous, wet and fresh butterfly drying out its wings. Life and death, essentially. I also have a ladybug in there to represent various things as well as a rainbow Hungarian beetle on one of the branches. They live underground for years before emerging.
My arms are more about my spiritual beliefs as a teenager, which I still hold strong with Kali, Shiva, and Parvati on my left arm. Oh, there’s the Tibetan god of death, Yama, on my other arm, too.
The rest of my body is mostly the sea, including the sea dragon and twin koi on my torso and legs to represent my two different astrological signs – eastern and western – Dragon and Pisces.
The rest is everything you can imagine in the ocean, predominantly around a large octopus on my back and legs. The dragon is on my front torso. It’s all quite organic, like my photography was, and an act of regaining my skin.
Who are your favourite artists (related to tattoo art but also photography)?
I love the one person who has worked on my body. I can’t go without naming him. Bandana Mike is my personal sanctuary when it comes to both tattooing and painting. As far as photography, I know of so many incredible artists that it’s nearly impossible for me to pick one.
I have to say that after working with the icon Nick Knight, I knew I was a huge fan before with coveting his photographs on my wall since I was a teenager, but truly, he is brilliant, far more than anyone could realize to the fullest extent.
Another person I’ve always admired but never worked with is Tim Walker. But truly, theres so many photographers out there that I admire. The easy and expected answers are that I was a big fan of Ansel Adams and Joel Peter Witkins when I was a kid, too.
What would you change of nowadays society?
I would like to change its inability to take off these rose tinted glasses and maybe for once see it use some self reflection instead. I want to act as a mirror. How you react to me is a direct reflection of who you are. And perhaps if you can actually deal with yourself, you can change for the better, and if you can change for the better, maybe this world can actually become better too.
People should be united by its own humanity and the truth is, we are far from it. We have a long way to go.
What is your favourite sense? How would you express yourself if you were deprived of it?
Touch. I would truly hate not being able to feel. I see with my body. But alternatively, I feel with my eyes, as they work differently too. I’m a bit torn between sight and touch. Touch helps me see. Vision helps me feel. Are you confused enough yet?
…and this is the caption to read while admiring the first pic (main one): “In essence, it’s the truest sense of destiny waiting at my feet when I rise and fall again into an elusive sea of blue like the home I’d never forget yet could always say that I knew.” Photo is by Amanda Clara Calquhoun.