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'This isn't for you, it is for them'

By Anna Cunningham

My project, ‘This isn’t for you, it is for them’, is a personal exploration of my feelings towards not fitting in, not being accepted and not conforming. Through my work, I express my feelings of frustration borne out of my personal experiences whilst also attempting to offer comfort and reassurance to both myself and anyone with a shared experience of feeling misunderstood because of their differences. There is a tension to the images I create as I attempt to express these contrasting themes. 

When creating this work, I had in mind two groups of people which helped me better understand my intentions behind this project. The first being those who were negative towards me while refusing to understand me. The other being anyone with a shared experience. Treating these opposing groups as my intended audience helped in my image making process and further added to the duality of my images. My intention is that these elements are not clearly defined but instead come together to reflect a nuanced understanding  of my experiences. 

 

The project took the form of a book, which was made to look like a diary to create a feeling of intimacy between myself and the viewer, as if they are peering into my personal reflections. I included extracts of text taken from my diary both at the time and retrospectively. The text is to aid the visual narrative, rather than replace it, and add another level of understanding to the project. 

While the project remains acutely personal to me, I hope it offers comfort and reassurance to anyone who shares my experience. The work communicates my own frustration and asks those who are part of my story to listen. I see the project as a way of communicating with those who judged me and to anyone else who displays animosity towards a person while refusing to get to know them.

Anna is an aspiring photographer based in Bristol. She uses her photography as a tool to interrogate her surroundings. She has had work published in The Big Issue, The Observer, Photograd Zine and Introspect Zine.

Anna’s Instagram is @acunningphotos