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At times, my sense of self is so obscured that it's like walking through the woods at night. Darkened is the world and occasionally, so is my perception of myself. My inner mind mimics that of the late night environment. In the dark, I wander aimlessly for hours, searching for beams of light to construct a truer version of myself. A glowing image of who I long to become arises in a world blanketed in the shadow of my past self. Peeling back layers of night, I build an alternate world in which to situate my newfound being.
There Is No Dark Till Something Shines deals with themes of self-exploration, interpersonal relationships, and exploring the strange world before me. I distance my photos from realistic depictions of the world around me, diving into a practice of making images that are mysterious and unsettling. Every photograph has a peculiar veil or perplexing attraction, whether it be shadows, water, smoke, lighting, or color, there is always a blanketed element that obscures and distorts its subject. These elements contribute to an alternate reality I am creating, adding feelings of mysteriousness, obscurity, and unnatural occurrences. This world is best constructed in the later hours of the day, when the sun is setting or the landscape is consumed in darkness. During these brief hours of night, I feel uninterrupted and undisturbed, my creativity is allowed to run rampant and I spend time crafting these images, either with others or in solitude. Just as the day cycles into night, and night passes back into day, the images are in a state of transition, a captured moment in a sequence of fleeting actions, emotions, and beings. An exchange happens before the image is taken and a response occurs after, but time is frozen and enlightened as the flash of my camera lights up the world shrouded in darkness for a fragment of a second.
There are small and minute details in my images that could have occurred only by chance; the droplets of water aligning like constellations and the light falling and contorting the proportions of my physical body. I use the black of night as a solid backdrop that is not distracting, working to elevate my subjects as they are layered against an illuminated source of light. Certain images have a soft glow of light enveloping my subjects in a warm atmosphere while others are blanketed with color to heighten their feeling. The contrast of light and dark works to shift the viewer's eye and perspective to reveal a greater sense of what the subject is and the emotions within it.
Photography as an artistic medium lends itself to world-building and distorting reality. With the advancements in photographic technology: fast shutter speeds, external flash, and editing software, I can produce and reveal a world of my own creation. I use photography to situate myself and fleeting thoughts into a tangible image that can express my emotion better than my words sometimes can. My camera is not just a tool but a spectator, in which I perform and reveal parts of myself too. The images I create hold aspects of myself I hide from the world and even my own eyes.
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Garcia, Bella N., "There Is No Dark Till Something Shines" (2022). Senior Projects Spring 2022. 74.
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