Today, I was reminded of why I create and express myself with the ways I do.
I had a final project due in my Art 101 class, which was a sequential narrative that could be of any topic or medium that we would like. I chose to use a photo series to narrate the story of my journey this past year in my first year of college. I had a sliver of an idea: to shoot pictures of a person riding the brown line train (which is of significance for me this year) and having an internal dialogue with herself (which is what I do when I’m on the brown line). I had a few potential shots in mind, but I literally just went with the flow when shooting the entire thing. It made me nervous and it was hard, but I believed in my instincts and let the creative process unfold. Actually didn’t do too bad, although my digital photography skills have downgraded by a lot.
The editing was what got to me. The mistake I made was doing all the editing in one night, which always is not a good idea, but I did it anyway because how could I go back in time (I wish)?
I was inspired by Sarah Bahbah‘s method of storytelling, which is what took the longest to edit into my photos. She has captions of dialogue within the photos which creates the story line in her case. I took this method and decided to make the dialogue an internal one rather than an external one because I feel that I changed a lot more with the internal dialogue that I had with myself this year rather than the external ones (not to say that I’ve learned quite a lot from other people). And to make it more personal, I created the captions with my own handwriting (I even made my own font, but had to throw that out). It was looking really nice until it became 1 a.m. in the morning of May 30th (and our library closes at 2 a.m.) and I had over 10 more images to edit. I was shaking, editing my last image and realizing that I was missing the twentieth image and the library literally turned its lights off on me and I felt so nervous that I didn’t feel so great in the stomach. I knew what I was creating was quality, it just made me nervous that I could destroy a potentially wonderfully beautiful work by not creating it or finishing it. I was so jittery I couldn’t fall asleep, so I called my family back home and calmed myself. I watched a bit of one of my favorite Japanese variety shows and laughed my weird jitters off too.
This is the worst signs of stress that I’ve ever shown in my entire life. I think it’s a combination of everything that just happened to punch me in the gut yesterday night, but I know I will be able to relieve this stress soon once I get home.
This morning, I came into class with four hours of sleep and exhausted. We started with a some great work done by my classmates, which I thought were really cool. I shakily put up my hand to go next.
My professor scrolled through my work on my Spark page (check it out here!!!!!!!). I was surprised at the audible sounds of approval that I heard from the class. People jumped right to describing the work (a cold read) and analyzing the work (what they enjoyed, what they didn’t, but mostly what they enjoyed). Lots of people were saying how the piece was aesthetically pleasing and the wording of the captions were really well thought out. I was so taken aback from the support that I was receiving from the entire class, I was at loss for words. When the professor said that the piece has you feeling some type of way or thinking back to a similar experience, she mentioned how the entire class was nodding their heads in agreement.
When it came time for me to talk to the class about my piece, I couldn’t get the words out of my mouth. I was stuck at how much emotion I was able to elicit from a few images in a small class. I was so happy, but I was too surprised to say anything. I said a few words and ended it at that.
After the critique someone in my class (who’s work was pretty bomb and he does pretty cool stuff outside of the class too), personally came up to me and told me how great and awesome my piece was. I was so touched. I was so proud that something that I created could be so powerful for other people other than myself. And all of this reminded me of why I create and continue to do so. It’s for moments like this. It’s for other people to feel less alone in their experiences. To be relatable. I saw why I stayed up so late and went through so much pain to create the work.
I left class feeling awesome and even listened to some reggae. Everything simply made me so happy after this. So happy that I got to end a class this way. So satisfied with how everything came together and hoping that everything ends in a similar way.
I hope everyone also ends on a happy note this academic year! Thank you for reading this long winded post!