This series was shot primarily in the late summer, just after my graduation and a move into a new home and job. I had a single roll of black and white film to last through August, and a couple of rolls of color film that I had saved for the period July-September before my first paycheck.
Coming from the lowest income background on the loan scale means a safety net was immediately taken away when my studies came to an end and I had to revert to the same full time minimum wage life I left three years prior. This brought many frustrations and complications in my life and as well as in my thinking. It manifested in a phrase I have a tendency to repeat when given advice, "No, I know, but...".
My stubbornness in seeing the negative side of things is a habit I am trying to break. It has required much self reflection to recognize this and this series was part of that process. The photos are self portraits, in one way or another. In some I pose. In some I ask the question of whether I need to be in them at all. I'm afraid of appearing on camera and still struggle a great deal with seeing my own face in pictures. I have attempted to construct my identity through clothes and the natural environments and locations around my home.
The clothes are a mixture of mine and my partner's, keeping her present even when several time zones away. In some pictures, only the clothes appear, a rotation of my favorite outfits that I feel give me a recognizable identity despite not being inside them.
Reflecting back, the tension between being present and distant, in my mental state, relationship and in a physical sense has been the theme of my life since graduation - something that I have only been able to understand through taking a look at myself in pictures.
In a few months, it will have been a year since I left university and the "bubble" it provides to those like me, sold on an easy route. This story is the first I’ve made as an "adult" and will continue with every photo I take of myself.
Images courtesy of CHRISTOPHER FOWLER
words ASHLEY MUNNS
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