When we are children we often hear the saying, “don’t talk to strangers.” This lesson seems illogical because it was only meant to warn against people who might want to harm us, not the potentially friendly people whom we simply didn’t know. Our child brains can not comprehend the difference. This saying becomes ingrained into our social behavior as many of us become adults, leading to an unfriendly and unfamiliar environment. Personally, I was an introverted child and didn’t speak unless spoken to. Even to this day, I don’t want to speak to people I do not know. This so-called “life lesson” has manifested itself into a fear. I am afraid to speak to people, afraid of what they will say, do, or think of me.
This series is a personal test of courage to break free from this impractical lesson that has been ingrained in my subconscious. My courage is tested by photographing complete strangers in the places I meet them. The use of lighting and colored gels enhances and reflects the anxiety I feel while engaging with these strangers, giving it an almost “horror movie” feel.
The photo of the woman will be exhibited at the Breaking Boundaries IV 12th annual Pingyao, China International Photography Festival