I realized today that it has been one year since my final shoot for my senior project (Porcelain). I thought, when I began this project in January of 2018, that I knew what it was about; I thought that I knew what I wanted it to be and where I wanted it to go. I had decided on shooting nudes, and started out in a defensive, defying the norm of nude photography mindset, wanting to redefine the female nude, typically shot by a male photographer.
Of course, this is not how it turned out. This project eventually became a series revolving around my own self discovery and growth. I shot these photos in the middle of a great deal of change in my life. Being on my own after two years of a relationship, that I had spent pouring all of myself into the life of someone else, left me feeling empty and lost, unsure of where to dump all of my affection and attention. Being only months away from graduation and "the rest of my life" was daunting and confusing, but also exciting highly anticipated, and left me feeling like I was floating on the edge of a big step.
As I was shooting and trying to take into consideration the feedback I'd received during in-progress critiques, I found myself losing sight of the original intentions I had set out with. I realized that the photos my professor and classmates wanted me to take, were not what I wanted to shoot, but up until the very last shoot, I wasn't sure I really knew what I did want to shoot.
The fifth round of nudes were photos of two people together (where the first four had been of only one person). At the time, I had fallen back into the arms of the ex I had proclaimed to be "over", and while I knew it was short lived, I realized my strong inability, or unwillingness, to ever let go of the people who mean so much to me. This became a turning point. This series was never going to "redefine" anything, it was a personal story.
Looking back a year later, I see these photos as a moment of evolution. I see how uncomfortable I was starting out 2018. I was forcing myself into moving past something I was still working through, and I ended up falling back into old habits as soon as the opportunity presented itself. As I pieced together photos of myself, I managed to create visuals that represented how I was feeling (whether that was accurately communicated to others or not, I don't think that really mattered to me at the time).
I had chosen to dump all of my excess attention and affection into myself, learning how to find comfort and self-confidence from within. I chose to let the loneliness and vulnerability I felt fuel my work, and by the end, I felt like I had finally processed what I had been trying to push away.
Through this series, I have found that I truly treasure photography as a form of emotional expression. I have three of the original photos hanging on the wall in my room as a reminder of this, and the things I learned about myself a year ago. I hope that I can hold onto the person I was in this time as I continue to grow and learn.