Outcast

Last month I developed an interest in outcasts and how people that don’t fit into the standard norms of society are treated and excluded from the rest of their community. I decided to focus in on local stories on lunacy, transgender and general misfits. I wanted to get a proper understanding on why these groups of people are excluded and made to feel like they don’t fit in or that they aren’t normal. Through my work I found many amazing stories and re-interpreted those into 5 separate series of images. This was a really great project to make and has opened my eyes to how poorly many people were and still are treated within our society. This project was created as part of my final A Level exam work for photography. To present my final outcomes I decided to create a box and add some material on top to make it look more like a Victorian style box, since all of my work is inspired from the late 1800s. The flips books were all handmade creating six individual flip books each holding 50 images. Below are images of my complete final project with all adjustments already made. What links all of these mini projects together is the idea of being an outsider, people that don’t fit in with the norm that are cast off and made to feel like they don’t belong that they aren’t good enough. I wanted to make photographs of the people, through my personas, that society ignores.

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This particular series has been inspired by photographs found from the Victorian period whereby mother’s would hide behind blankets or curtains in order to get a photo of their child while holding them still to make sure they didn’t move with the long exposure going. 

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This series was inspired by a local transgender story from the early 1900s of a man called Colonel Victor Barker who was found out due to an unpaid debt from a restaurant.

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A series inspired by a true local story of a woman, Jane Le Maistre, who was locked up in an outhouse and left to rot with her own insanity until inspectors were due to arrive and she magically became groomed and cared for. 

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Scared Sh*tless was inspired by yet another local story of insanity in the late 1800s, before the asylum was built to house these ‘lunatics. A tradesman was scared out of his wits by an apprentice who jumped out at him in a white sheet, the man never recovered which led him to insanity. 

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This series was inspired by a photograph taken from inside my local asylum which was abandoned many years ago when the new one was built. I found an image of a large drawing of a tree inside one of the rooms and it captivated me and from that I created a persona, someone who that drawing could belong to, trying to deal with their own mind and insanity.

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Shrinking Violet

Shrinking Violet stemmed from a short film that I created on my project about my mother. I made a film based around an interview that I did with my mum and created shots made up of archival images as well as documenting her everyday life. Part of the interview sparked an idea when she said “I’m not one of those shrinking violets in the work place”. This caught my attention as I see her role as simply doing what is expected of her, something that I want to challenge through my photographic work. This brought on the idea for creating a parody shoot where I dress as a persona, similar to my mum, and pose around the house mimicking the role I see my mum carry out daily. I wanted this project to embody the traditional role of women our society perceives and for spectators to view the images I have created to recognise themselves, their mothers, their sisters or their wives. Gender defines everyone and, at times, can be limiting. It makes us feel that we need to belong and conform to the expectations placed on us at birth solely on whether we were born male or female.

Video: Behind Every Good Man There Is A Great Woman

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Growing Up

I wanted to make a note about how much we change in our teenage years. I’ve learnt so much throughout my time at school, making new friends, loosing old friends, becoming more exposed to the world around me and learning that there really is so much to explore and venture into in this world. I finished school last week, FOREVER. I mean I still have my exams but other than that I’m finished with my school education for the rest of my life. Of course there’s university but that is such a different experience to school. People always say that it’s the best time of your life and to an extent I agree. I’ve had so many good times and made some awesome memories along the way but more than anything I’ve learnt more about who I am and who I aim to be. I feel that school could never be the best time of my life because I have so much more to do, I want to travel and adventure around the world, meet new people and follow my dreams of being a filmmaker/photographer. The unknown can be scary but it’s also extremely exciting. School was always so stressful and there were some really bad times but that’s life and I know that school will not be the best time of my life because I will make sure that the next few years of my life are even more awesome.

As time goes on we realise that the exams that we thought meant everything, really don’t mean much at all. They cannot define who I am as a human being and something that I do in the form of a 2 hour essay cannot tell how intelligent I am. I think that’s something that parents and many adults don’t get, it’s so difficult and the pressure being placed on top of that stress makes it even harder. Don’t get me wrong, exams and tests can motivate people to want to do well but at the same time they can make people feel stupid or unworthy. Life will go on whether we get good grades or not and that’s it. There is no point in dwelling on how good or how bad we did back during the time of our A Levels, it brings pointless negativity and regret. What I guess I’m trying to say is, grades can never really define you and your intelligence cannot be measured in how many A grades or D grades you get.