I am overwhelmed by the amount of conflicting options and ways to work and live, as well as love. The dire importance of moving in your own way and learning to navigate as your own individual has been a topic of great urgency for me. Urgent, solely because I feel strangled by my socially influenced brain that tells me that I need to do X, say Y, and be Z. Just so you can live in this world and not starve or be deemed as a particular type of person, and then ostracized. Is it possible to be yourself, and still be ok in this world?
Photo: Reylia Slaby
Model: Dagny Tarver
One thing that is often packaged with youth is the underestimated complexity of truly being yourself. The amount of pressure to act with a certain disposition to fit with the social mold can be excruciating, especially when it isn’t how you truly feel. We all handle this differently, but in my case, starting from when I believe to be around 18, I was inwardly panicked in most instances where people were involved. A cloud of angst filled my chest whenever I had to chat with someone I felt I couldn’t be myself around, especially those whom around I felt I had to uphold a certain image. I couldn’t understand why I was feeling like that, and it troubled me often. I didn’t have much peace until I expressed my worries to a friend, who responded in saying that I probably had some form of social anxiety. Somehow this idea was a relief to me. It felt like I now had something more tangible to work with.
Only until recently is when I felt the intensity of these feelings drop, and I can breathe more easily. I no longer agree with the motto that says I should act how I want to feel, (e.g smile and you will start to feel happy) but instead I simply act how I feel. There is no reason for a disguise; that because it is a simple human right to to be able to express when I am sad, uncomfortable, or happy, as long as my feelings aren’t destructive.
This picture is for this current stage in my life. I can feel my mask melt away little by little, and slowly but surely I am a little bit freer.
P.S Thank you sooo much to Dagny who worked so hard to help me achieve this image!! You.are.simply.wonderful.
“Never Leave Me”
Photo: Reylia Slaby
Model: Dagny Tarver
Finally a new piece. I owe my “delay” to several things. One being that the shoots I’ve been desiring to have involve purchasing rather expensive things, and in that case I must wait, and one by one accumulate all that I need. The second is that this year, my focus has shifted. I see art now as the shadow of experience, and without embracing life, art can become meaningless. My prerogative now is to live.
But more about that later.
This shoot was so wonderful to do for me. Dagny was such a sport, and I can’t thank her enough for going through with it, despite the rain and the cold. She is truly a great model 🙂
As for the idea itself, it stems from my tendency to cling to the things that I love. I have felt this to the extent that it can be borderline obsessive. Despite my undying love for these things or people, I cannot make them stay. I have always known and been ok with this. When it comes to people in this equation, everyone has their own path, a stage entrance and exit. It is ok to let go, because that is the natural flow. Very few things stay.
But on the bright side, many things come back.
Yesterday I had another photo-shoot for my series “The Mystery of the Girl in Her Garden”. At the moment, I don’t have the desire to say much on the series itself, but I will write a bit on the individual photos and the process.
Once before I asked my sister if I could break her violin for a photo-shoot. Understandably, she wasn’t fond of the idea, so I didn’t push it, even though the violin itself had fallen into disuse and it had been cheap. Today, although, I felt the need to ask her once more. This time she didn’t seem to mind as much, just as long as I eventually replaced it.
I had never broken a violin before, so that was a strange experience.
After I had done the deed, I packed up for the shoot. Along with the violin, I had a black dress, my camera (Nikon D7000+50mm), tripod, and umbrella, and then I was off.
The air has been slowly getting cooler. Along with this new chill, it had been sprinkling. I thought that it would surely rain before I reached the garden, but it hadn’t yet started by the time I reached my destination.
I began working straightaway.
In the moment of brokenness lies a magic that, I believe, cannot be discovered elsewhere. I have found that in my darkest moments laid a blazing fire of hope and inspiration. Once it had been revealed, it was a place I kept returning to, and more importantly, it was a place I could return to. This image, to me, represents those times of trouble, both external frustration and internal struggle.
I was shooting for about an hour, although it only felt like minutes. In the moment I decided I would stop shooting, a downpour began. A beautiful autumn downpour.