THIS IS ME TRYING
SENIOR THESIS 2021
This is Me Trying is a collection of staged images that represent those who have experienced loss, depression and emotional adjustment. The model in my photographs is essentially an avatar of myself - a representation of my mental state and an image of what I wish I could be. My photographs reflect insecurity, prolonged grief, and frequented moments of isolation.
The three chapters of this collection, Mirrorball, Happiness and Right Where You Left Me, serve as the main focal points of my narrative. This is Me Trying, speaks to not only the darker and lonelier world of mental illness, but more specifically, the unseen grief and pain of anxiety and depression. My model/character depicts my personal feeling of stagnancy; visualizing myself in a still space surrounded by desaturated fog and natural moving elements that symbolize the movement of time.
While the flow of the narrative is guided by the use of chapters, the chapters are guided by the previously mentioned avatar concept. In this case, the chapters’ avatars are the song titles of different Taylor Swift songs. These songs are personally meaningful for many reasons, and their titles truly communicate just what each section is about. Mirrorball reflects my insecurity and self-hatred. Happiness portrays the state of ‘purgatory’ that I have assimilated to since my brother’s passing. And the last section, Right Where You Left Me, echoes the sense that I have been left in what feels like a stagnant world. I’m stuck in a reality that has formed itself out of loss, sadness and stress. This speaks to the feeling of being left behind while the world moves on.
The video portion of, This is Me Trying, approaches the narrative through a more emotional lens. In this portion, I am showcasing the details of the environments my model is captured in while using audio clippings of Taylor Swifts explanation to the song, This is Me Trying. The album, Folklore, was released the summer after my brother’s passing. The release of this album signified a change in Taylor Swift, and more importantly, this was a change that coincided with the one that I was going through at that same time. I immediately connected to, This is Me Trying. The song spoke about addiction, depression, and constant struggle, and delivered in a way that was consumable to those with or without direct experiences to those things. I continued to listen to this album for months along with Evermore, which was released in December of 2020. Music has been a huge part of my life since I was child, mainly because of my parents and older sister. It was always easy to connect with musicians and the words they were singing. So, while thinking about this project and listening to these two albums, I knew I wanted to connect the two. I chose the songs that related to my experiences and applied them to my own story.
These images represent my view on the world, the dense weight of depression, the exhaustion of mental illness and the pain of grief. This is Me Trying, provides a closer look at my personal experiences living in a distorted reality clouded in dissociation, alienation and avoidance.