My independent study this semester was with Sandi Frank. The project we came up with was 8 - 12 images that depicted an emotional fantasy primarily using images shot in studio and environments composed in Photoshop. Over the course of the semester, I realized that 8 images would be impossible. So I settled on 6 images.  These images are symbolic, most of them I think can be interpreted without my explanation. But, just in case, I'll explain them. My idea for an emotionally raw project was inspired by the video for the band Paradise Lost's "Faith Divides Us, Death Unites Us."

I would like to take the time to thank those who helped me on this project. Kristina Hallila was the makeup artist on the first two images, Catherine Thoss who was my lovely model for the first two images, and a giant THANK YOU to Katherine Celio who was able to bring some raw emotion that really made the project work. Of course, I need to thank Sandra Frank as well. She has supported me in so many ways, throughout my education at SJSU, through issues I've had in my personal life, and through this past semester with this project. And, above all else, Daniel. He helped me on a few of the images, but more than that, he has helped me through life. The past 8 and a half years would have been unbearable without him. He is my world and has been with me through the worst aspects of life and the best. Thank you all so much. I couldn't have done this without you.

"The Paths" - This one is a metaphor for the paths in life I chose between. I had a really rough childhood and the two different trees represent the different places I could have ended up emotionally. I feel I chose the right path. I could have become bitter to the point of shutting down. For a while, in fact, I did. But I resisted staying in that place. The background is made up of several images. Most of them were taken in Sonora, California. The model I shot in my home studio.

"The Smoke" - This one symbolizes how I regard my depression. There are times I am aware of it, just in the back of my mind. It feels like this monster, looming in the shadows, pressing on my consciousness. The model and the smoke were shot in my home studio.

"Dichotomy" - This image, I feel, represents how I would see myself when I started to grow into adulthood. I would feel as if I were two different people. Katherine was able to give me the raw emotion I was looking for with this image. For the skin pulling apart, I had Daniel chew some gum and pull it apart.

"The Sadness" - This image is pretty self explanatory. Katherine is an incredible actress, so she was able to channel the fear, anguish, and utter sadness that has overwhelmed my thoughts at times.

"The Masks" - I think it's pretty obvious in this one that the entire room was fabricated. I agreed with Sandi that this felt more like an exercise in Photoshop than anything else. All of the background images are stock images I found from various places including and We all wear masks at some point.

"Unheard" - Probably my favorite of the series. It addresses the many times I felt ignored. This was fabricated using stock from deviantART. I couldn't find a male model for my project so I ended up using stock I had found. The background was mostly from deviantART as well although I had to alter it quite a bit.

Thank you for looking. This project was emotionally, mentally, and physically taxing, but I am satisfied with the results. I feel I am finally able to get over most of the terrible things I've gone through in life and that they have made me a stronger, more well-rounded person. "Vanquish the pain."