Photo-Op: All Time Low

Last Sunday, I saw one of my favorite bands live for the sixth time (never gets old) in New York City. All Time Low not only makes top notch music, they also put on a kickass concert, hence seeing them six times (even though I wish it was more). Their energy is almost contagious and their banter between songs is very entertaining. It also helps that their music has meant so much to me for a lot of my life, and hearing those songs sung live with such passion, surrounded by people who feel the same way about the music being played, is just incredible, there’s nothing quite like it.

I usually only take my phone to a concert to take pictures, but this time I decided I’d try to get my camera in. I tried to bring my camera to a concert once about five years ago and they turned me away, and I never tried again. However, I was inspired to try again this time. I was tired of crappy phone pics, so I decided to step it up. It was a really good decision, in my opinion. I spent the first few songs dancing and singing along without worrying about pictures, but I soon broke out my camera. I still was able to enjoy myself while taking pictures, in fact it may have made it more fun. It was hard, since I’m short and always manage to stand behind the tallest person at the show. I actually used my camera to see above the crowd most of the time.

Included in this post will be my favorites from the show. Be warned that most of them are of Alex, the lead singer, because he was in my direct line of site and not behind tall people. I tried my best to get all of the guys, but again tall people and hands and what not. Either way, enjoy seeing this concert through my lens!

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Photo-op: Dazey LA

Photo-op is a segment in which I showcase my recent photography work and where I got the inspiration from.

This past Sunday, I went to local public places to take pictures (something out of my comfort zone) of my friend wearing an outfit I styled that was inspired by a small business called Dazey LA. The shirt is what struck me first. Not only is the design super cute, but it shares a message that is near and dear to me: Mental health matters. An instant add to cart moment. I searched further through the online shop and found this metallic silver scarf and knew it would go perfectly with this top. I thought to my current wardrobe to see what bottoms and could pair with it, since shopping for pants online is really hard for me. I thought of the ones pictured that a got at the beginning of the season, but had a similar style aesthetic to Dazey as a whole.

Dazey LA is a (hand)made to order “slow fashion” brand based in, you guessed it LA. Their goal is to empower women and minimize waste. Besides designing and sell their own clothing, they support other female entrepreneurs by selling their products on their site as well. I personally love the vibe of this company, both in their design aesthetic and their do-good attitude. Their photography is also very cool and colorful.

Their clothing carries catchy and inspiring messages while also being sustainable, not to mention being super stylish. I highly suggest checking them out (here), and if you end up buying something, use code JESSE927 for a discount.

*Disclaimer: this is NOT an ad. I just genuinely like their stuff and happend to be an ambassador, so I figured I’d slip in my code for a little financial help.

I was so inspired by their clothing that I planned this whole shoot. I had a friend be my model (forever grateful) and ended up getting some amazing shots and having a lot of fun. The best ones are below!

 

Unhinged: A Personal Visualization Living with Multiple Mental Disorders

For my first post on Ace of None, I decided to be completely candid about a huge part of my life: mental illness. I will include this topic in many posts to come, but wanted to start by sharing how it feels to live with mental illnesses through images and short captions giving some context. I created this project in 2016, at a camp for photography. I spent my full three weeks there thinking up concepts, carrying them out through trial and error, and finalizing them. I put my heart and soul into this project, and I really hope that comes through.

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During the thick of my struggles, as a freshman in high school, there would be night where I would be dreading school so much, that i just wanted to claw my eyes out. School gave me such intense anxiety, that any thought of the work or the people would send me into a panic attack. I felt like I was melting into a puddle of goo.
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I am very sensitive to sensory stimulation, especially sound. I am prone to sensory overload, and when it hits me, it feels like the room is spinning and closing in around me, while everyone else just passes me by and continues on with their days.
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I had, and still have, two sides of me: “depression me” and “hanging in there” me. Depression me is pouting all the time, snippy, and just, well, depressed. That version is very outwardly uncomfortable and unhappy. Hanging in there me, is doing alright, putting on a happy face for everyone’s benefit. On a rare occasion, I am actually happy, but this version is a facade.
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Being clinically depressed literally feels like there is a storm cloud hanging over your head at all times. It’s always looming, threatening to pour rain, and sometimes it does, but sometimes the threat is worse. In addition, people avoid you like they avoid the rain, making everything worse.
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Being diagnosed with a mental illness at a young age, and growing up with it, can make you feel crazy. Whether it’s something you get labeled as from yourself or from others, you feel like an outsider. At some point you just get fed up with the subtext of being crazy even though you are just wired differently.
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When I was suicidal, I didn’t want to ask for help. I was ashamed and embarrassed and couldn’t even fathom how to say “Hey I want to die for real”. I was screaming into the void aka the internet, where I couldn’t get real help. I tried and tried to get help but it is so incredibly hard.
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The shadowy figure in this image represents “bad things”. I have OCD, which is way different than most people think, but that’s a whole other story. However, I am constantly threatened by “something bad” happening if I don’t complete a compulsion. The event(s) are always near and scaring the living shit out of me. It controls my life to an extreme extent.
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My personal physical manifestation of stress, anxiety, and depression feels like a heavy, black light in my chest. It completely takes over my being and stops me from doing anything of worth.
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Sometimes I feel like my mental illnesses are like conjoined siblings. The are literally part of me, but not the whole of who I am. They are different sides of me that like to make themselves known, without my control.
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I either have too many thoughts, or none at all. When it’s too many, it can seem like the buzzing of static in my head. When there are none, I am vacant like a channel that won’t connect.
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As a young teenager, I struggled with anorexia. I controlled my eating strictly and exercised excessively. Even weighing 80lbs at my lowest, I still felt fat. I would grab at “fat” which was just loose skin from extreme weight loss. I still struggle with body image, so this image is still impacts me.
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As someone who suffers from depression and has been for about 6 years now, I can tell you that all you ever want to do is sleep, or at least be in bed. All I wanted to do all day at school was disconnect from life and just sleep. I did my homework at school, came home, napped until dinner, and then went back to sleep. On the flip side of that, sometimes depression and anxiety makes me unable to fall or stay asleep, so I just lie in bed, staring at the wall, thinking away.
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Panic attacks can strike at any time, at any place. I usually try to find a private place, or a place rarely frequented (bathrooms, stairwells, you name it). I sit there and try to calm down to no avail. Eventually, it passes, and I have to continue my day like nothing has happened.