This week I was most intrigued by Jessica Bardales gallery called Youth: Portraits of Identity and Expression. Since the artist was not there I read an article on her gallery in the Daily 49er where Jessica, a senior, said made this gallery with the intention of showing these adolescents true identity.
Jessica stated in the article that she feels “Smiling is artificial”, so her photographs do not have the children smiling like usual photos do. Her photographs intend to show the individuality of each adolescent through their gestures, posture and poses, Her gallery included photographs of 10 adolescents, which all seem to have a very mature feeling to them. With the expression on their face, it feels like each child has a story to tell but has yet to be heard. I understand why she says smiling is artificial because when a child smiles in a picture you over look the fact the child might have a story behind them. A smile acts as a mask and makes us feel like nothing could be wrong, it covers up their real emotions and sets them in a stereotype that all children are happy and care free,
What first drew me to her exhibit was that i actually knew one of the children in one of her photos. His name is Sebastian, he is thirteen years old and happens to be my neighbor. Sebastian has autism, and this has made his life a little different than the average person, he has encountered certain difficulties that many of us will never face. In the photograph he seems wiser beyond his years, and you can see that he has a story to tell. I feel like if he was smiling you would overlook that and just brush him off as a happy child with no problems. I am sure that each one of the children in the photos has a story like Sebastian does but it is rare for them to be heard.
Jessica said in the article she thinks it would have been better if she could have added audio to each portrait, that way giving the voice the adolescent to actually speak on how they feel. I think this would be a great idea, it would really connect the audience more personally to the adolescent.