"TOUGH LOVE" is a collection of self-portraits born out of butterflies, heartbreak, one too many drinks, and one too many hours staring at my phone. if being a single gal in new york has taught me anything over the past year it's that 1) in 2019, truly anything goes, and 2) at the end of the day, you're the only one looking out for you. in my moments of confusion, heartache, and laughter, i turned to myself, and now i share this part of me with you.
this gallery launched for one night only at the living gallery bk, on may 6th 2019. click through the titles to see the full series.
self portraits, september 2018
Ah yes, where it all began. One minute I’m laying on his couch with a fake engagement ring on my finger and the next, I’m pounding on his door at 3AM declaring war. The tears didn’t come then, but they surely did later. I cried for what felt like a lost chance at love, but more so I cried for all the hurt I’d let myself endure at the hand of men up until then. How clear it became in that moment, that I had let myself be stomped all over. I don’t have many regrets, as I truly do believe in “better to have loved and lost,” but man, did I hold myself back for years.
It was in my lowest moment that I decided I was no longer going to stand for this. I wasn’t going to hide from the world and close off my heart in fear of getting hurt, but I was no longer going to accept any bullshit from any man. This time, there was going to be consequences. And while art as a form of punishment may seem mild to some, it has become the most positive and effective way for me to get closure with my past relationships even when those invovled may have refused to do so. (Also, do not doubt that my revenge efforts have gone beyond paper when the situation has called for it).
Creating this series has inspired me not only to approach my love life with a new vigor, but also has changed the way I think about my photography and challenged me to keep thinking outside the box. So for that, I say thank you to all the emotionally immature men I’ve encountered throughout my life. Without all of your shitty behavior, I would be nowhere.
self portraits, november 2018
It’s easy with the hookup culture of today to swing from partner to partner. Before you know it, as quick as it started, it’s over. And with social media it’s just as easy to keep tabs on the people who were once in your life, who now aren’t. Find me someone who hasn’t stalked their ex on Instagram on a bad day, or someone who doesn’t check their story views to see if a certain someone is looking.
We’ve all been there, and I’ve found myself there more than once recently. Scrolling through profiles of all the women that came after me, I eerily see pieces of myself in all of them. Versions of myself strewn across Brooklyn, across the country, across the world. As if society, and therefore social media, doesn’t already give women enough reasons to hate ourselves, Instagram makes it very easy for us to compare and contrast, at times with a personal edge.
As women, we often are so quick to pin ourselves against each other over practically nothing. It’s easy to be jealous of a killer outfit, or of a 100k following. It’s even easier to be jealous of a bond with a person you lost, or even just a little irked at the least. But at the end of the day, who are we mad at? We take our anger at past lovers out on versions of ourselves. (Versions of ourselves that we’d probably be bffs with IRL).
These versions of myself are all of the women I am and have been, and all the women I could be.
self portraits, march 2019
In order to immerse myself in the world of dating again, I’ve both consciously and subconsciously put up a variety of walls and facades in order to enjoy the ride, and protect myself from falling head over heels for strangers who couldn’t care less about me or my feelings.
As thought-provoking and entertaining as it’s been to meet people while adopting this new zero-stakes mindset, it has come with some downsides. I find myself waiting for every lover to fail in one way or another, to let me down somehow even when the bar is already so low, you could trip over it. The assumption is always: that all will end in chaos and disappointment.
Under all my cynicism and petty baggage, I must remind myself that I’m a romantic at heart, and becoming another cold, unemotional, mysterious person in the world isn’t really helping my cause or anyone else’s. Through these self-portraits, I try to peel back the layers of protection I’ve built up and remember what it’s like to be vulnerable; remember what it’s like to be tender.