After a major break up, I deeply believed that if I didn’t transform myself into a more likable woman, there would be no more happiness in my life. So I started to dispose of everything that defined the old “me”-things I did, said, and even believed, and in particular the way I interacted with men. I chose to “de-self” myself in order to please potential romantic partners.

After a few years, though, I found that the more I de-selfed myself, the more I hated myself. I realized that suppressing the person that my life experience has created would not help with my romantic relationships, and was actually making me unhappy. I needed to find a way to accept myself for who I really am and to declare that acceptance to the world. Photography seemed a perfect way to do this, by allowing me to expose my fears and my own fragility in front of the camera.

To illustrate feelings that are often difficult to explain, I combined a variety of physical props and materials with myself, usually posing with different male counterparts. For most of the images featured in De-Selfing, I chose to keep my own face hidden. I want viewers who have experienced similar loss, pain, and sadness to be able to project themselves into the frame. I also incorporated a lot of negative space in the images to evoke the feeling of isolation and sadness I was experiencing.

Creating the images in De-Selfing has been a therapeutic process for me. Since starting the project, I have picked myself up piece by piece, gotten my confidence back, and been able to hear my own voice again.

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