Angry, happy, sad: a photographer’s “pre-21 crisis”
I’m going to get straight to the point. I think these last two months have been the most challenging and eye opening ones yet. I’ve felt like crap, felt like giving up, felt sucked in to my depressed mindset, and I’ve recently noticed something was extremely wrong with my being. I felt like I never wanted to socialise, I just wanted to go home and stay in my room or just be with one person at a time. People would make jokes and I wouldn’t find them funny but I’d feel the need to laugh. I wasn’t actually laughing…
I don’t know — I guess its been a depressing Jan/Feb. Money was probably the biggest issue and I’m such a fool for letting it get to me. SUCH a fool. I found myself only creating if I was getting paid, or only searching for ideas for something that I was earning money from. Mainly because I didn’t want to be sat at home not able to even buy a 3 pound meal deal, but also because I just wanted to make money so that I could just do things.
I’d made myself believe that I needed money to go and make the best art. I was getting paranoid that I was losing the competition in the industry and that theres other artists like me who are female, younger, and doing the craziest shit with their lens or working with the best people. The thought of me not being the best was really causing me to shrivel and to just become an emotional wreck. One hour I was happy as hell watching a Key and Peele video on Youtube, one second I was angry that a job had fallen through, and the other hours of the day I was just internally fucking sad. I’ve never felt this sadness before, because it’s literally disappointment in yourself and the one thing that you thought would never let let you down, and in my case, that’s my passion. I mean I knew it wasn’t going to be easy but then again, I didn’t actually expect it to be this hard. I’d like to call this stage of my life my “pre 21 crisis.”
After me crying almost everyday, me watching pointless movies, me eating my own body weight, and after one beautiful phone call from a loved one — something changed. It’s like a little light bulb finally turned on in my head. I stopped letting the fact that I had no money in my bank account effect my ability to make the best fucking work in London. The best work that actually matters to me. The work that doesn’t need money in order to be alive. The work that truly comes from within my mind. I don’t know why I didn’t just have this mindset before my depressing phase, but I guess I needed to feel like utter shit to allow myself to do everything I can to get out of it.
I sat in my living room with a pen and notepad and I made sure I noted down everything I was feeling, everything I wanted. (unfortunately that’s in my diary so I can’t show you that, lol). Then after I let everything out, I made a video on my Mac about it. Straight after that, I began planning.
I find that writing down with an actual pen and paper is so much more satisfying and so much more real. You have no Pinterest, no Tumblr, no Instagram. Just your beautiful mind. I think thats the best art, you know? Work that comes from within, work that comes from a feeling.
For those of you who won’t read it, this was my idea: I wanted to shoot the same girl, but I wanted her to portray three different emotions. I wanted to do this through her body language, expression, and most importantly, make up. I had researched so many make up artists and gotten a lot of inspiration from them as I know nothing about make up myself. But I already had a clear vision in my head of what I wanted her to look like. I needed cool clothes too, but they weren’t TOO important.
After I’d planned that idea, gotten a team together, and set a date. I was back to being me. It felt so fucking good to create something, purely to CREATE. Not for money, not for someone else, but for me?!!!!!! That’s exactly why I started making videos and taking photos, and thats exactly why I still do it now. FOR ME. I create because it gives me so much pleasure, I feel like I’m in my own little world when I’m shooting someone. I feel like I’m challenging myself by meeting someone I barely even know and making them feel and look like an image in my head. I think my passion is extraordinary and I think my mind is too. It’s the only way I can be completely open about things. It’s the only possibly way I am my complete self. Through writing, through my photography, and one day it’ll be from a movie.
Lara, my beautiful beautiful friend, absolutely killed this. Thank you for having the most amazing smile. You’re not an angry or sad person — and I am so grateful that you put yourself in the position just to make my vision come to life. Thank you for only having one days notice. Thank you for having the most gorgeous hair, and just doing everything I told you to do, no matter if it was weird, stupid or uncomfortable. It’s girls like you who make me so thankful for my job, and I love you for that.
Thank you Pallas, for allowing me to use your studio and saving me the stress of paying hundreds for 2 hours. You’re an angel. And lastly, thank you to the amazing Amy for transforming Lara through every single look in literally under 15 minutes. You’re a genius and everyone should work with you.
So there ya have it guys! My work that was born from pure sadness and a moment of uncertainty. The struggle is worth it man, it shapes you as an artist and as a human being. There’s way more photos from these sets that are probably less ‘angry’, ‘happy, or ‘sad’ – so go and check it out on my website.
Thank you to every single one of you for your support. You da best and we gon win together.
Photographer: Hana Zebzabi
Makeup: Amy Weems