to be both
the partner and the artist
the partaker, the observer
the contented and reflector
the consenting and the fighter
the utilizer, the creator
both the equal and the greater
in routine and in critique
in health and in sickness
both participant and witness
is there freedom in the pairing?

A self-portrait project for a difficult transitional period.

Words and images by Vanessa Tignanelli.


It Begins With Death

DAWSON CITY, YT (07/13/15)

fear of commitment

Fear of Commitment

NORTH BAY, Ont. (30/10/17)

west coast transient life

Everyone Goes West, But No Matter Where You Are There You Are

TOFINO, BC (07/07/15) 

city life

Chameleon I

BELLEVILLE, Ont. (12/01/18)

playing house

Mother, Really
NORTH BAY, Ont. (04/11/17) 



GUELPH, Ont. (08/01/18)

body image

Body Image

BELLEVILLE, Ont. (12/14/17)

masculine feminine

Masculine Side, Feminine Side, Yes Both Feet Are Mine

BELLEVILLE, Ont. (11/01/18)

plastic woman


NORTH BAY, Ont. (08/01/18)


disturbed mirrors

we, the wind, 

passing privilege,

rush circles around our centers.

in moments we avert with artificial reactors

we were trained to be distracted.

with dilated eyes, we are blind.

the toxicity makes us see not clearly.

diffused to quench the thirst but water already has clarity.

on high alert, our insecurities

and this shallow fix does nothing.

screaming for connections,

we pop pills of major consequences.

and our shallow fix does nothing as our souls wail inside our chests.

it lies and says, “when you’re high you’re at your best.”

with synthetic smiles on our faces,

we are displeased with grounded feet.

the chemicals crave the beat, but do not make us deep.

this lack of confidence deserves disturbed mirrors

as this shallow fix does nothing.

if this be a generational outcry

then every decade has known tears.

and this escape of temporary nature

that is immediate and desperate,

though liberating and heightening,

teasing our craving for uninhibited lines,

and the power to love free of our own considerate minds,

ends with our heads on our necks.

and with the feeling that something’s missing,

it solved nothing.

to relive. to chase. to escape.

forever stuck in our yesterdays.

march 14, 2016

drug culture
Escapism, Experimentation, Ecstasy

ELORA, Ont. (09/07/15)


What I Put On To Turn You On

NORTH BAY, Ont. (10/11/17)


Domesticated, or All My Dreams Down the Drain

NORTH BAY, Ont. (14/11/17)

daughter and mother

Becoming My Mother

NORTH BAY, Ont. (07/01/18)

park sunset walk

Moving Forward From Behind

"Does moving back to the place I'm from mean that I've failed? I escaped this small town with big dreams packed neatly in my bags. North Bay was behind me, my future lay ahead. How do I make my future this city once again?" NORTH BAY, Ont. (03/11/17)


To Believe in Something

NORTH BAY, Ont. (04/11/17)


really something

grumbled amens taught me faith is a cautious thing.

by the name of celebration,

the half-hearted reactions of the once engaged,

let them pray.

they fight over not for every war in God’s name.

today’s faithful eyes aren’t clear anymore.

yes they fear death, but more life instead.

one which they'd walk holding their own hand.

but what’s wrong with the one beside you?

it is only the weak who need reasoning for their meanings.

when blame and thanks are both extrinsic,

they neglect the strength of their own authority.

the time must pass slowly for those who are slow.

we figured this out long ago…



taking up disorderly pews,


turning to see who they knew.

only babies and rings show for their time between “good news.”

(didn’t they ever tell you ‘bout the good news?)

they believe in rows that focus forward,

but backwards are the outdated and ancient texts that contradict.

I sat there for years.

searching for someone else’s eyes who weren’t complacent.

yet all I saw were the backs of their heads,

grumbling under their breath, amens.

the priest begins, and I want to be a part of the play.

for he is on stage.

he is a teacher of days uneducated.

Jesus walked, but I’m lost at resurrected.

preacher be a man who refrains from life’s offers,

no partners.

does not to learn to love another make the preacher the sinner?

pardon my impure thoughts,

I tend to think about sex when he addresses his clergy.

then I think about ignorance causing wars not purgatory.


when I get to that inevitable ending,

it sure would be comforting

to believe in something.

august 2017

chameleon jungle

Chameleon II

BELLEVILLE, Ont. (12/01/18)

brent stirton

Never Meet Your Hero
NORTH BAY, Ont. (07/11/17)

tree rope

How to Use a Noose

NORTH BAY, Ont. (06/01/18)

master and pet

Fuck Hierarchy

NORTH BAY, Ont. (03/01/18)

self portrait painting

I Want to Make Something Beautiful from All of These Colours

BELLEVILLE, Ont. (13/01/18)


something quenching for the recessed

unworthy need to be remembered.

leader. dirty analyzer.

the filters are hindering her.

and can she only be influential if she is singular?

is she a fraud if she aches for the


or want to help the dead few wake as co-creationists?

unbeknownst a narcissist until the ego hunt ceases.

she wants to be worthy of dying tragically early.

one day you’ll watch it in their documentary.

yet in jumping ahead to available rhymes at the end of the next sentence

she remains recessed.


where is her voice?

tearing off that muffling muzzle of comparison

of success

of process


she laps at her own soul first.

hydrating the masses will come after quenching that thirst.

after she will know if all these thoughts will have worth.

for the remembered are her equals that are recognized by her.

society’s easy nectar makes her blurry-eyed

and she drinks to get drunk.

impossible to be dry when teaching others to be alive.

but the inspired does not first share her water.


she can never be a leader if she lets

herself die. 

april 5, 2016

HIV mirror

Responsibility of a Reporter

"If a documentary photographer's job is to put themselves in their subject's shoes, maybe now the audience can put themselves in mine." FAJARA, The Gambia. (08/05/17)

younger brother shadow


"Appreciate the patience of an open vault begging, evermore debating if its treasures are worth taking. An open palm doesn’t mean you’re reaching, brother. You have to pull to push for believing. For a beggar that’s blind must know what he’s needing." NORTH BAY, Ont. (01/11/17)

grandmother hands

Letting Go

NORTH BAY, Ont. (04/11/17)

parent relationship

What Makes It Work

NORTH BAY, Ont. (15/11/17)

love commitment


NORTH BAY, Ont. (30/12/17)  

photograph cooking

Domesticated, or I Can Do Both

NORTH BAY, Ont. (03/01/18)

surfing in Tofino

Waves That Have Passed

TOFINO, BC. (08/07/15)

engagement photo


NORTH BAY, Ont. (30/12/17)

young girl at festival

The First Self-Portrait, Returned


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