photography, Western Michigan University

Emily Merlo

Emily Merlo
ART 4470: Digital Photography II
Digital Prints; 16×24
8 Images total

Statement: In my life, I struggle with depression and dissociation. My body is in the physical world, but my brain often tends to drift away. By blocking out the face and head, I dehumanize the subject of the photographs, only leaving the hands to represent the small pieces of humanity a person with depression can afford to show the world. The empty spaces are left to make the viewer ponder where the subject’s mind is in relation to their body. They also express the loneliness felt in day-to-day life. We pass hundreds of strangers a day, without remembering any details other than the fact that they have a human form.

14 thoughts on “Emily Merlo”

  1. Your description really matches what you are trying to say in these photographs. I also think it was a good idea to make them in black and white because it mimics how you might see the world through your depression. Dark skies and grey buildings surround you because you can’t see much joy in the moment. I also enjoy how you have shown us a wide variety of locations to place your subject in. It reiterates that idea of how your mind drifts away in everyday activities. It shows that your depression could pop up at any time in any location. Good job with your theme and ideas!

  2. I enjoy the blank you put out there. It takes away the emotion and just focus on the existence and within the environment. Your choice of black and white is effective as well.

  3. The concept behind your work is beautiful, and I feel many people can relate. I think black and white was an excellent choice for this theme. I really enjoy the first and last images that you have shown. I like a tighter crop, so I think that’s why I’m drawn to those two. I understand that you’re trying to capture your body within an environment and the feeling of loneliness, but I don’t really find the composition of the middle two images very exciting. I’m curious to see what else you have captured because I really like your concept.

  4. I enjoy the lines and how they are consistent throughout the images. The subject seems emotionless and anonymous which seems to be what you were going for based on your artist statement.

  5. The black and white, and the excellent use of contrast in these photos really makes the white stand out against the background. The eye is instantly drawn to the subject in each photo. Very nice concept and execution.

  6. Fantastic pictures! I think your pictures expressed your ideas very successfully and thoroughly through the use of white blocks to cover your subjects face. Interesting choice! My favorite would be the fourth picture because the exposure is so perfect and every part of the picture is well-lit. Great work!

  7. I think you’ve done a great job with your subject matter in portraying the idea of depression and dissociation. But at the end of your statement you included how you pass hundreds of people and the idea of feeling lonely in that but that concept isn’t included in your photography work. That’s where i would go next, trying to portray that same emotion of loneliness and isolation in a big group of people.

  8. Just by looking at the first image, I was taken away at the void that is there because it’s not something you see every day. The fact that you decided to take out the part of the image where the face would be, keeps me on the edge wanting to know more. I think images that keep the audience wanting to know more are the best kind of photographs.

  9. The concept behind these photos is very beautiful and relatable to a lot of people. I was very drawn to these photos because they are so unique. I like how you used the white blocks to cover the subject’s face, this choice really successfully expressed your ideas and made these photos super interesting.

  10. On their own I find these images really striking and I got a feeling of what they meant without even reading your description, but your statement also describes perfectly what your goal is with these images. I really get that sense of feeling, especially since I have myself felt this way and many others feel this way as well, and was able to relate to the emotion being given off in the images. While I love all the images, the first is my favorite because of the contrast between the faceless subject and the delicate flowers in the background.

  11. I really liked the concept of the pictures and they are self explanatory in themselves. Also, along with different backgrounds, the black and white effect itself gives lot of impact on your theme. I really liked your series of images!!

  12. Your pictures are a perfect representation of what you are trying to say. The use of black and white was pertinent to your goal, and it was done extremely well. Beyond just the beautiful composition, I felt something when I saw these photos. They are truly amazing.

  13. The composition of these images are very strong. You’ve managed to find locations that offer both a sense of solitude as well as creating smaller, natural frames that peek into outside human activity. The consistency of the void and attire in the subject offers the viewer a chance to piece together a story of this anonymous character. I find the last three images much stronger than the first image because they give a more expansive look into the character’s surroundings.

  14. Before reading your statement I got the feeling of loneliness and disassociation. I feel that you accomplished what you wanted your audience to feel very well and that these images and this practice is highly effective. It also makes the images less personal and more relatable. That person could be anyone.

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