For MY Eyes Only
Place: Dressing room in Aerie (in Southside). Aerie is part of American Eagle, but it sells bras, underwear and swimsuits and some lounge wear. Inside the dressing rooms, there are sticky notes and a marker left for customers to write encouraging messages to the next customer and stick them on the mirror. I have been to this store multiple times before the start of this project, and I always struggled to accept the positive messages right in front of me. Is it because I lost weight to be "more attractive" for other people? Is it because I bend over backwards to make other people happy and find it selfish to do things for my own benefit? I hear and see numerous positive messages, but I can't seem to create them myself. I was thinking about how other people could interact with my project and I realized that I needed to do something that was purely self-serving so I can begin to accept and appreciate myself. I spent about 45 minutes inside the stall just looking at myself, reading the notes and creating new, positive experiences to improve from my old ones. I learned that even in a large pool of positive comments from others, I have sole responsibility for my self-confidence. I took my sticky note cape home with me (pictured below) and its next to my mirror so that when I get ready in the morning I have a reminder that the only opinion that matters is my own.
I wanted to experiment with bringing a camera into a private space and documenting a private experience without removing too much of that privacy. I used the camera angle and the mirrors to connect how I see myself and how others see me.