In my photographic practice, I am always thinking about the camera as both a mirror and a window. It captures the way I see the world, and in turn, that vision reflects who I am as a person. The camera is my instrument of emotional and intellectual development, allowing me to process and communicate all the ideas and feelings that I might otherwise keep inside. As such, the photograph is an assessment of who I have become and what I believe.

 

In making an image, I externalize my thoughts, emotions, and biases, and by doing so, give myself the opportunity to evaluate how I think about, and react to, specific issues and environments. My ideas or emotions do not become truly meaningful until I can experience them visually. When I can see the physical manifestation of my thoughts and feelings, I believe that I can do something with them, that my work can tangibly influence the way I exist in the world and the meaningful change I can affect.

 

Today I think of myself as an individual thinker and hope my art inspires the viewer to do the same. This wasn’t always the case. A year ago, I closely followed and projected the dominant narrative about society, culture, and politics in exactly the manner you would expect from your average sixteen-year-old Bay Area white girl. Moreover, my photography focused on using models to portray clear-cut, resolved ideas that, for the most part, had a single interpretation. My series "Metrics,” for example, depicts a teenage girl wrapped in red and white measuring tapes, lit against a black backdrop. My intent was clear and presented only one possible meaning. While these pieces reflect a hugely important moment on my artistic and intellectual timeline, and while I am proud of their technical accomplishment and aesthetic, I have come to understand the power of looking at a person as an individual rather than as a representation of a larger idea. This development was inspired by and first depicted in “Eric” - a series that seeks to engage with an eight-year-old autistic boy. Instead of using my models to represent my political and social views, as I did in Metrics and Purity, I now choose to leave the message of my pictures more up to interpretation, allowing the viewer to determine how they want to connect with my subject, just as I have the opportunity to connect with my environment. My work is no longer about ideology but dialogue.

 

Currently, I look within for conceptual inspiration. One day, I hope to mature to the point where I can, once again, make art about larger social and political themes while progressing the narrative in a way that is both original and authentic to my viewer.