Sunday, May 18, 2014


If I need anything as I go into my senior year of college, a year that I feel surprisingly under-prepared for, it's confidence. A little over a week ago, I watched dozens of people I care deeply about walk across the stage and accept their hard-earned degrees, and I was reminded how their confidence and grace has shaped and formed my Furman experience. 

Coming to terms with the fact that I sometimes often struggle with self-confidence has been a surprisingly difficult process. I know I started to realize this last semester while being abroad, and the thought became fully formed in my mind around New Years' Eve, while I was sitting on my couch eating an omelette deciding if I should even try staying up until midnight or just go to sleep then (at that point it was only 9:30… whoops). I could've made a transformation in to a newer, more confident self into a New Years' resolution, but setting aside the fact that I can't stand New Years' resolutions, I realized that this development of self-confidence is a (slow) process I owe to myself and to everyone I know, and it's a process that needs to evolve because I want to do it--not because it's something I want to check off of a list.

I decided that, as a photographer, the first place I should start is with a self portrait project. The idea of a self portrait has always felt strange to me, because I've always wondered, "Why the heck would people want to see a picture of me that I took myself?" despite the fact that I have always enjoyed the self portraits done by other photographers and artists immensely. And then I happened upon this article in The New Yorker, where one photographer, Deanna Lawson, said: 

"At least once a year, I make a self-portrait. It’s an occasion for the artist to construct her representation through her own medium, be it a camera or a paintbrush or what have you. It’s an opportunity to declare who you are visually and who you aspire to be. A selfie is a smaller branch of self-portraiture—quick and less considered. A self-portrait considers the interiority of the artist; it’s a moment for self-reflection, to pause and to look at yourself." 

I've had a dozen ideas for this project bouncing around in my head all semester, involving wildflowers, books, my violin--anything that has played a part in my life. But I struggled to come up with a way to explore my selfhood through a photo. I wanted to incorporate all of the things that, until this moment, have helped me form my identity. Instead, I opted for none of those things. I decided to make myself sit down in my room and take a few photos without any sort of planning, primping, or anything. These self-portraits are simple, vulnerable. If I have learned anything this year, it is that I need to find confidence in myself, even when I feel or look my worst, and I wanted these photos to help me do that. In these photos, I'm sweaty, I don't have any makeup on, and the allergy medicine I'd been taking for the last few days made me super drowsy, so I look exhausted. These portraits aren't glamorous or unique, they simply are

They are me. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Triple Falls

On Monday night, one of my housemates, Robbie, one of his kayaking buddies, and I went to Triple Falls for some night kayaking (for them because water sports still scare the pants off of me) and the chance to mess around with some long exposure photography (for me). I had never been to Triple Falls before, but I wouldn't have chosen to do it any other way, now that I've experienced it at night. It was a wholly unique adventure: walking across the smooth, rock landscape was like walking on the moon (as Robbie so aptly described it). That night, the moon was nearly full, so we didn't need flashlights or artificial lighting of any kind. The moonlight made the photographing interesting and challenging because while I could keep the exposures as short as two seconds, trying to focus the camera properly with all of the mist (and because the Nikon lenses I have don't have aren't marked with distances) and general darkness was annoying, but the results are definitely interesting. Enjoy!

 P.S.-- I swear these were taken at night, even though in some of them it looks like it's sunny and lovely outside.

Just FYI: That little beam of light is Robbie