shot on 35mm film and 4x5 film
(of a bird) to shed old feathers, hair, or skin
to make way for a new growth.
I have known I was a lesbian since I was in kindergarten, but I have never quite processed all that led to my realization - and what came after. I have never directly told my family; although I am sure many of them have their assumptions. This project started out with the intention of creating a body of work to come out to my Mom, but I soon realized it wasn’t about her accepting me - it is about me accepting myself. I have never been against being a part of the LGBTQ+ family, but I also never embraced it below the surface level. In the early stages of creating this series, I was writing multiple pieces about memories from my childhood that correlate to my story of coming out. In that process, I began to remember traumatic events in my life that I had forgotten about due to years of pushing the memories away. It became very obvious to me that the photographs I was initially taking were not depicting my story with the intensity that my words were. Once I started tapping into deeper feelings and trauma, I was able to finally visualize through a photograph being in a state of pain due to the process of acceptance of oneself. The photographs in this series represent the three steps I have taken on a path to becoming who I am. Remembrance, Acceptance, and Resilience are three words I continue to associate with this work as it has taken years to get through each of these phases. Through the remembering of significant moments in my childhood, I am finally able to accept that I am who I am because of everything that happened to me - good or bad. Through the process of accepting who I am, I have become resilient to change and have entered a new phase in my life where I am outwardly becoming a part of a different kind of sisterhood.
Through my newly acquired resilience, I am finally comfortable with the idea of shedding old fears in order to make room for a new growth.
Photos by Anna Robertson
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This work is conceptualized and produced by Robin Elise Maaya. All rights reserved.