Taran W, 18 – USA

I’ve always been fascinated in the concept of things being hidden or not immediately apparent. Perhaps the most intriguing of these “things” is people. They are directly in front of you. In plain sight. However, they are almost always hidden.

Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about how we only see what people want us to see of them. They get to choose exactly how much they are willing to share their life with the rest of us. This is very apparent in terms of social media, but perhaps even more interesting is the performance of physical face-to-face interactions.

Based off my feelings about “being hidden”, I have decided to produce a portraiture essay focussing on hidden faces. Exploring my thoughts on this theme is important to me for many reasons, but I’m also genuinely passionate about the idea because as I see everyone else, I too feel as if I am hidden in a sense. Sometimes I can even feel straight up suffocated, but that implies that I am surrounded by a suppressive environment. When in reality it is quite the opposite. So perhaps I am more drowning in my freedom than being suffocated by my environment. I wish I could express more about my life, but ultimately that would only pace against my own interest. Currently I must be very careful with what I communicate or convey to others about myself or my circumstances.

I want you to understand that people like me are not so uncommon. Those who are just standing silent, only articulating themselves through secondary mediums of expression such as art. Waiting to escape. And we are exceptional. Not only because we have a drive to communicate our repressed selves, but because we are all trying to prove something. You may think me to be over-confident, claiming too much: I claim it anyway. I am an artist, and I’m going to prove it.