special

Please scroll to the bottom of this page to read the story behind this project.

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Go listen to track 4 on The Coloring Book by Chance The Rapper. Did you cry? No? Well, that was the kind of state of mind I had when I heard the song in 2017. I was thinking of creating a project exploring vulnerability and validation, and this song, which I had heard many times before, just hit me in a new way. 

We all want to feel special. We all want to be important. We want others, or a certain someone, to love us, appreciate us, and validate us. It can be a challenge to get vulnerable enough to allow the important and lasting connections to occur. Sometimes you don't feel validated even when you go to those difficult places. I had been thinking about these concepts quite a lot. Thinking about why I want to be liked, why I want to be good enough. Why I want to create something that impacts someone else in a meaningful way. 

The participants of this project allowed me in to their lives for a moment. They got vulnerable with me. It can be a challenge to be photographed, not knowing what it will look like or how the experience will be. Some of these people I had never met before, which was scary and validating for me. It's vulnerable of them to say yes to a complete stranger. I couldn't believe that someone would willingly participate in a project that mattered so much to me. 

The first photo represents joy. It is one of my favorite things to capture a genuine laugh in a photo. Laughter is such a common denominator of humans. It is relief, it is fondness, it is newness. We all have a multitude of laughs, and I'm glad I could capture one version of everyone.

The illustration represents how I feel around each individual. The energy they gave me was tangible. I tried my best to translate this feeling into something beautiful. The illustration is a reminder to each individual that they are enough, they are important, they are strong, just as they are. 

The third photo represents the way that everyone feels pressured to be a version of themselves that others want. Sometimes often, sometimes rarely, sometimes big, sometimes small, we've all gone through external pressures. 

I have a lot to improve on, but I feel that this project has helped me along on an important path in my life. To all of you who helped with this, thank you. 

If someone hasn't told you lately, you are very special. Very special, to me.

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