Lenscratch Student Prize, Honorable Mention: Lena Mirisola
Lena Mirisola is this week’s first honorable mention as we continue to showcase the outstanding works submitted for the 2016 LENSCRATCH Student Prize. Within contemporary practices, photographers and image-based artists alike have been working towards the 15-20 photo project standard. It was refreshing to receive an entry that was not necessarily confined to one specific idea, and while submitted as one body of work, Lena’s photographs display strength as single images. Digital Natives is contextualized as a way of seeing — an ongoing outlook in just making dynamic, layered photographs. Lena’s work is spirited in youth, making her eye a little fresher as she leads us through her life as a young adult.
In 2010, with a precocious eye and a love for people and light, Boston native Lena Mirisola turned her passion into a wedding and portrait business at the ripe age of fifteen. Currently studying at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Lena’s commercial client list includes The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Cosmopolitan, Citibank, Urban Outfitters, Free People, and more. For her personal bodies of work, she shoots digital, 35mm color, black and white medium format, and 4×5 large format. Lena hand develops her film and makes analog prints in the darkroom. When she’s not taking photos, you can find her in Chinatown sipping on bubble tea.
Navigating the confusions and celebrations of early adulthood as a twenty-one-year-old girl has been a unique and trying experience. The social and cultural landscape is very different today than what it was forty or even twenty years ago. These days, young adults are often seen as entitled and stubborn, but I see us as a generation full of perseverance, passion, hope, courage, creativity, and complexity. As digital natives, we came of age in a radically new social media reality, that constantly prompts us to craft our self-image to the world. More so than any generation before us, we have the ability to carefully project how we are seen. In some cases, we create entirely fictional lives that serve as entries in the global contest of popularity and aesthetics. Above all else, this is a generation of invention and re-invention of identities.
This body of work explores the friction between the represented self versus true self. It investigates the tumultuous landscape of new attitudes about romance and sexual liberation. It encompasses longing, lust, desire, defeat, and sentimentality for this era of our lives. The photographs follow some as recurring characters, and others as fleeting subjects. The images are likely to be staged in cinematic fashion, as they are shot spontaneously through the course of life unfolding naturally. These photographs unravel the common threads of youth today through a series of narratives about being a twenty-one year old girl navigating life, love, independence, relationships, and the chaos and confusion of her journey to adulthood.
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