I've always leaned on the "still life" genre when it comes to photography, so this time I decided to try something a little different.
The purpose of this series, titled Flicker, is to make an attempt to capture the essence of my anxiety and inhibitions through experimental self-portraiture. It was Christmas of 2004 when my life took a turn for better and worse. My family arrived in snowy Toronto, Canada, and that was soon followed by a new elementary schoolâ€”and utterly, dreadfully new troubles. For more than one obvious reason, I was singled out in my group of friends as the scapegoat among other things, and the daily psychological pressure and subtle harassment slowly corroded my vibrant nature. The few years during middle school and high school was when I fully experienced the traumatic effects of the past damage in the form of social anxiety disorder. One of the products of my years of anxiety disorder is an extreme difficulty in certain situations (various psychological triggers) to express how I truly feel. The faces in these photosâ€”whether open or reserved, ducking away from the camera or obscured by light or shadowâ€”are the different sides of me in anxious situations. Most resemble the expressions that I show to the outside world, and a few resemble how I am when I feel at home. The shifts in expression can be rather subtle in this experimental series, which reflects the very limited scope of expressions I am physically able to make in times of psychological bombardment.
However, waves of vibrant colour flow subtly through these portraitures, hinting at an unrelenting force of hope and healing, amidst even the direst of situations.
I took these photos by experimenting with Bulb exposure. By pressing and holding Bulb while I move/change expression slightly in front of the camera, multiple translucent images can appear in on shot.
Elise Wang , 18 yrs
Etobicoke School of the Arts