“the importance of photography does not rest primary in its potential as an art form, but rather in its ability to shape our ideas, to influence our behavior, and to define our society” Freund
Over the last few years, my life has change so drastically I wouldn’t believe you if you told me two years ago how happy and proud I would be now of who I am. The process of realizing who I am and working through that to become the proud gay woman and lesbian I am today, has taken a long time through lots of ups and downs but I wouldn’t ever change that journey because it has shaped me and made me in to the woman that can 100% honestly say is living their truth. I wouldn’t be where I am now without so any people in my life from family, friends to my online LGBTQ+ community that gave me there support and love when I needed it the most and constantly support me which makes me so incredibly proud to be a gay woman.
looking back to just over two years ago when I started to fully question my sexuality I was in a very dark place not because I was ashamed of my thoughts and who I was, but because I felt scared and alone. I felt like I could never truly be honest with myself or with the people I loved the most. The main question that was constantly in my mind was “how could a 21-year-old woman come out to her family and friends” this question was the only thing I could think about for months of my life in 2016, and how have I never been honest with myself before. Through this time, it was always a constant thought in my mind which I could never get ride of; to have this massive weight hanging over me was the most stressful thing Ive ever had to deal with.
What would you do if you weren’t afraid? I made the choose to be not afraid anymore, to not care what others thought of me, I was going to be truly me. This was and is the biggest and most important decision Ive ever made in my life and I have never look back.
Straight people don’t have to come out so why do we?
This is a question Ive thought about for such a long time and also a lot of my friends think the same thing when I came out to them, they felt bad because they would never have to go through that same heartache and pain of having to come out. Coming out is the hardest thing a person from the LGBTQ+ community will ever have to do in their life and normally will have to come out every day of there lives in ways and in situations they never through off before. That first step of being able to actually muster up the strength to say “I’m gay” take everything out of you, and then facing that moment when those two words are bursting out of you and you finally say them is the most breathtaking moment and in my experience it was life changing. Each time I’ve come out I can’t remember much about what happened after as my mind was so blown away with happiness, this especially happened when I came out to my mum and dad separately; there was a moment just after I said “I’m gay” and it was finally out, I was finally out! it was over for now and I could finally relax and be me.
I have four dates that will always stay with me throughout my life; those are the dates that I came out for the first times in my life to my best friends, my first family member, my mum and then finally to the rest of my family…
19th April 2016.
This date will always stay with me for so many reasons because that was the date that I came out for the very first time to anyone, it was to my best friends Abbie and Hannah. I hadn’t planned it or built myself up to coming out that day, it just sort of happened before I could actually stop myself, like I had done on so many occasions over the last few months before April of 2016. It wasn’t the clearest way of coming out, it came out very backwards but I got the words out and they understood me and what I wanted to tell them. I still remember that sick feeling I had while standing in our university halls corridor just outside our bedrooms when I handed them my very first Diva magazine (lesbian magazine) and said read the front cover and they really didn’t get it until I just said I’m a lesbian. It wasn’t the best way to come out, but I had finally said those words that had been stuck in my head for such a long time and it was the most freeing moment of my life. It was the start of a very long journey of discovery and confidence building to get to where I was a year later standing in front of all my family members telling them.
Being able to tell Abbie and Hannah and have nothing change in our friendships was incredible, when you first come out, you are most terrified of, is change. YES, things are going to change in life that’s natural but that fear of the unknown is so terrifying to over come and took me along time to get past that part of the fear of coming out. The love and support that came from both Abbie and Hannah over the next weeks and months changed my life so much for me and made me start to build that confidence to just be me and never be ashamed of that. The hidden parts of me and personality were starting to reveal themselves and I will never be able to thank them both enough for everything they have both ever said and done to help me and for them being the most incredible friends.
19th June 2016
two months later after I came out for the first time I chose to message my first family member my cousin Craig, being able to come out to him and have him to talk to for nearly a year before I told any other family members was incredible and I wouldn’t have had the strength to tell the world just who I am without him standing by my side through the whole thing. That day I decided to message him and finally start that process of coming out to my family will always stay with me and I will never be able to thank Craig enough for everything he has ever said and done for me. That day when I messaged him to ask him for his help was a life changer, he was incredible from day one and let me tell him all my worries so he could tell me that it would all be fine and I would find that strength I needed to come out. Over the months to come we would share messages back and forth all about my worries and fears and with every week and month that passed he was the most incredible strength for me and gave me all his advice which slowly built up my confidence to finally have that strength and determination to live honestly and tell the rest of our family. There was a long gap between me telling Craig and then the rest of my family. That was down to me not knowing how to tell my family and me not feeling like I could deal with what life was dealing me at the time and then having to come out on top of that.
6th February 2017
Is the day I finally decided I would fight for the strength to finally come out to my mum, she had come down to Falmouth to see me and the week had flown by without me finding that perfect time to come out to her. There truly isn’t the most perfect time to come out and I realize that now. I had to take that chance and go for it; I sat down with her and said I have to talk to you about something, in that moment I remember I felt so sick and scared but I new deep down she would be fine about everything I was going to tell her; which meant I had to just do it and I did. I can’t remember what I said but it was something like; Ive been figuring this out for such a long time and feel like I have to tell you now, I’m gay, I’m a lesbian. That moment I had finally said it was such an emotional release for me. looking back at that day and to the present my mum is such an incredible support and makes me so proud to have that support and backing in everything I do. She tells me on a daily basis just how proud she is of me and what I do for my gay community and that means everything to me to have that support and love from her.
The week of the 10th April 2017
Then I finally came out to my family on three different occasions last April, those experience were the best and most frightening times of my life. I can still remember that time just before I said I’m gay in front of a room of different family members three times over space of a week. There was a true sense of freedom that I’ve never felt before which instantly took over my body physically and mentally, I’ve never felt a pure happiness and freedom like it. There’s nothing like that feeling of finally being free to be 100% myself and not being scared of saying or doing anything that might be related to me being gay. I’ve never felt so free to just speak my mind and have that confidence to just be Sophie 100% before and also never be ashamed ever again for that or who I love. The emotions of having to come out effected me mentally and physically for along time which was finally released when I had finally come out to the whole of my family I felt such a rush of emotions I was uncontrollably crying with happiness which felt like for hours.
Looking back now that my coming experiences are coming up to the 1st and 2-year anniversary’s I can say that I am a much stronger and happier person because of those dates in my life and through all those sleepless nights and such cherished memories shared with friends and family through my coming out firsts. I will never regret coming out, it changed my life which has given me so much more than I ever could have dreamed about. When I was feeling alone and afraid of being an openly gay woman, I never could have dreamed of the woman that I have become through my journey of freedom, pride and self love!
Online community and Diva magazine
When I had nobody to talk to in those lonely hours at night when I couldn’t sleep because I was scared of the dreams and nightmares I would have about my sexuality which were telling me that I needed to tell people and finally be open and free. But in that time I had the online world that gave me that love and support I had always needed, by having that support especially from the Magazine Diva I don’t know where I would be now, being able to connect with there writers, editors, publishers and supporters and seeing what my life could be like; let me start to build that strength and pride in who I was and am. By picking up that first diva magazine in the April of 2016 I was able to start to figure out who I was through reading the words from incredibly strong women and people within the LGBTQ+ community, I finally had found a way for me to connect with a community I had been looking into for such a long time and never having that strength to stand up and shout I’m proud and I’m a gay woman! I had that mind-blowing moment when it finally all made sense after such a long time of me being confused and scared, reading Diva magazine truly saved my life and gave me that first strength to reach out for help and support through my LGBTQ+ community.
Being apart of a huge online LGBTQ+ community brings me such strength and pride on a daily bases and I love every single person that has held me up when I was at my lowest and to everyone that I now pass on that strength and pride too. To have such inspirational women and LGBTQ+ people showing me such support, pride and love is life changing for me and gives me that passion and strength to join them, carry on that fight for who we are and stand together with our shared pride, determination and love! To be able to finally stand up and say to the world that I’m proud to be a gay woman and that I will never be ashamed to be who I am is the most incredible feeling there ever will be. To be gay in 2018 is easer, but there is still such along way to go for the LGBTQ+ community and for us to get equality around the world, we are stronger than we ever have been and I will always be so incredibly thankful to every single person that has come before me in the fight for our lives and I will continue that fight and pass that fight on to the next generation until we are all equal! the fight is not over!
Representation within media.
To see a gay/lesbian woman on TV, in a film or within the words of a book gives me so much pride, love and strength. in 2018 we are finally seeing some good representation within the media of lesbian and gay characters this is life changing and it will continue to bring me such happiness and strength to watch shows like Wynnona Earp with characters Waverly Earp and Nicole Haught relationship created by the writer Emily Andras creating relationships and storylines that are true, honest and loving. to have a TV series that isn’t scared of having characters that are firstly strong, empowering and gay is changing what we see on our TV screens and giving its fandom and the LGBTQ+ community the representation it deserves. One of the best web series ever created which is called ‘different for girls’ it’s a show that is a true, honest representation of lesbian and gay relationship created and depicted by gay, lesbian and trans actors. This series is so imported to have and be watched because its so rear to have a series that focuses sourly on what its truly is like to be gay or a lesbian in the real world and for this series to have been created by a crew and actors sourly from the LGBTQ+ community and our allies is incredible and one of a kind. To have a show that is written and created by such incredible women and people within the LGBTQ+ community is beyond incredible and was life changing for me to finally see representation from such real and inspiring women like Victoria Broom who plays Fran in Different for girls, to have her as a inspiration and role model means everything to me. Films such as Carol, Pride, love Simon, Blue is the warmest colour, Below her mouth and princess Cyd are being made that finally show representation of gay and lesbian characters which has never been done before. To be able to read books like Different for girls, Carol, love Simon, Spectacles by Sue Perkins and Call me by your name is incredible and such a step in the right direction. By watching comedies like ‘Take my wife’ created by the real life married couple Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher; This is representation we all need and deserve to see, if one gay, lesbian or trans character within media that finally isn’t made fun of, belittled or killed because of who they are, is one life saved and one young LGBTQ+ person finally being able to see themselves onscreen which tells them that they are perfect the way they are and there is nothing wrong with who they are or who they love.
My first experience of openly gay characters on television were within the American TV show Will and Grace. Watching Will and Grace as a child showed me that being gay was normal and never anything to be ashamed off and I should have always been so proud of who I was and who I have grown up to become. To watch a mainstream show that had characters that were gay and bi sexual was life changing for me and so many people in my generation. The show is still changing lives today with its reboot and making the strives for equality around the world for the LGBTQ+ community. The main characters of Will, Jack and Karen were never made fun of or belittled for there sexuality; it was celebrated and the show continues to celebrate people and its characters for who they are.
Reading the book Carol by Patricia Highsmith (originally published The price of salt) and watching the film of the same name which is a story about the forbidden love shared between two women in 1950’s America. The beautiful and manifestly written love story between Carol and Therese’s changed so many women’s lives over the years and changed my life when I first read the book too. It was the first novel that I had read that had a lesbian relationship and love story within its pages that had ended happily, this book will always hold such memories and happiness for me, as it gave me that first strength to build that confidence to finally be proud of who I am and not hide who I was any more. It was the first book that had a lesbian love story and narrative to be ever been published that had a relatively happy ending for the women unlike there fictional predecessors, nether women died or had been put in prison or hospitalized. This was a huge step in the writing of fiction around this subject matter as when the book was first published it was still illegal to be gay or a lesbian woman. “the camera moves from one close-up to another, a single hand, a lock of hair, a patch of skin. The shots are quick; sometimes they are upside down. Which keeps us from the full satisfaction of experiencing Carol and Therese’s consummation, just as Carol and Therese’s are kept from the full satisfaction of living, loving, as their true selves” this quote perfectly explains the relationship and love of Carol and Therese’s, its referencing a scene from the film Carol and how that scene is shot in the reference to how Carol and Therese’s relationship could never be free for them to explore and for them to be able to freely love each other in the world.
What my work explores.
I’ve been wanting to explore my own coming out story for along time through my photographic work, I now feel like this is the right time. So through the process of looking at what makes me, me and at all the incredible, emotional, happy and even heartbreaking times I’ve been through in the last two years since I came out; I want to document the whole story through my photographic practice. By using archive images and my photographic work to document the physical moments and memories of my coming out experience and then by adding the colour of paint to express the emotional and physical pain of hiding who you are from your family, friend and the world around you. A number of people in my life have said after I came out I wasn’t a different person, it was like there had been a film that lifted and I was finally able to be 100% myself without prejudice.
I want to be able to create a series of images that can be viewed by anyone and for them to be able to connect with the work through there own experiences or through love, empathy, friendship and to educate people into how hard it is for a person to come out and what that process is like. Having to come out was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life and I don’t say that lightly, to have those words “I’m gay” in you head and just at the tip of your tongue for mouths, years and not having the ability to just say those two word is the worst feeling to have. I want my work to express that fear and then the hope, happiness, love, strength and huge pride I now have for who I am.
Being who you are and being proud of that person is the most profoundly beautiful and incredible feeling and to say I’m proud of who I am now means more to me than anything in the world. For someone to finally have that freedom, strength and pride in who they are and to be who they truly are is what everyone deserves to have in life and if my work or my coming out story can help just one person from the LGBTQ+ community fighting for there pride, this will make me happy because all my pain and heartache over the years when I was in their shoes would have been all worth it.
To everyone out there whether you are gay, straight, lesbian, bi, trans or still on the journey of self discovery, you are smarter than you think, you hold more strength than you will ever may know within yourself. You are powerful and you will find that strength within yourself to finally live your truth and be proud to stand up and say I am me!
There are so many people I would like to thank for there constant support and love. Thank you to Craig, Abbie, Hannah, Mum, my whole family, my friends and especially my online LGBTQ+ community and Diva Magazine that have been on this crazy coming out journey with me, you all are incredible people and I will never be able to thank you enough and finally too all the incredible women and LGBTQ+ people that constantly show me the pride, representation, love, happiness and strength that I need to stand with you, you are all my Hero’s!
My Angel, flung out of space.
Being able to hold a book in my hands that holds such happiness, love, pride and emotion from times when i was hiding who i was and now being able to look back at those times and know that each tear stained page was all worth it now that i have such incredible love, happiness and pride in who i am.
When memories become old photographs. The place I used to stand and think about everything from what the future had to hold, to how I was going too be able to come out to my family and friends and then one day that all changed and I was finally free.
14TH April 2017
That date will stay with me for the rest of my life, as its the day i had finally came out to all my family and I was free to live my truth and love who I was and am.
They think i’m mad, they say it isn’t real, but i know what i feel and i love you.
I’ve lost count at times i would walk through theses woods and just feel that sense of freedom and happiness i had never felt walking through life itself. That well walked path holds memories of times when i wondered freely through my heart and mind like know one was watching, which has now in turn aloud me to live so honestly and freely.
You can handle more than you think. You have always been built to save yourself and you deserve more than you can ever began to imagine.
Some memories never leave your bones, like salt in the sea; they become part of you and you carry them.
Looking in to her eyes and having that courage to finally tell her the truth.
19TH April 2016
Abbie was one of the first friends i came out to and just by having her love and support over the last two years was and still is life changing.
Standing with the future just at a grasp away from me, a day, a sunset, a sunrise away. With that i took one more step closer to the happiness and freedom I had been dreaming of for years.
The World As I See It
"The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. it is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science" - Albert Einstein
Natures Colour Palette
To truly see the world around us you have to be able to have different perspectives, if you always look at the world in one way or from one perspective you will never truly see the whole view in focus. The colour and movement of the world become a blur sometimes but by creating new perspectives of your surroundings you can start to understand it...
This work focuses on creating a world of my own, through my eyes. the colours and patterns blend together to create a new landscape of the world.
The Life Of Babs
For this project I wanted to focus on the environments of people and how they can have there whole life in one room. this work documents one lady Bab's and her life within a care home, her bedroom, photographs of her favourite things and the environment of the care home.
The view from the Tower of London, how many people over the years have looked through the windows and looked down the Towers and seen the world and land change. This time over 100's of years have made what we see today... History.
I've only ever lived in two placers and that is my "family home" and at university and when I got back from university for the summer I started to see all the little parts of my house that I've grown up with my whole life that make it Home. These photographs are a documentation of the love a "home" can give to someone and the capture of life long memories.
These images show how light can create its own form and how light forms everything we see. My images are exploring how the connection between light and time is created. I’m creating these images by using a pinhole camera made out of tin cans this is one of the oldest forms of photography, I have decided to use this form because while I have been studying I have explored working with digital photography where you can take hundreds or thousands of images of the same thing to get the right images but by using film I’ve been exploring how pinhole photography creates images that are unique and can’t be retaken or recreated. This will communicate how an image can be unique in one form (negative format) then when turned in to a digital format can be less unique and manipulated but the image will become recognizable to the viewer. The movement of light in my images creates a blurred and abstracted look over 7 days of sunrises and sunsets which is captured on the photo-paper which then becomes the visual origin of “nothing” and “everything” that we see over time. This work was shown at the Nottingham Contemporary Art Gallery in June 2015.