My name is Hayoung Ahn, and I am a sophomore attending Stuyvesant High School. As a visual learner, I pay particular attention to the way I perceive the world I occupy. My camera plays a significant role in this process, because it grants me the ability to showcase my unique perspective of the people whom I interact with as well as the emotions bottled up inside of me. The reason why I choose to pursue photography is that it serves as an intimate medium for me to release my creativity in such a way that I cannot do otherwise. Since I am a high school student who is usually so focused on math and science studies, it’s difficult to make room for other aspects of life. However, I find that that makes it all the more necessary to discover an aesthetic purpose in life and devote your energy towards it. As Kurt Vonnegut once said, “The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow.”
The subjects that I emphasize in my work range from landscapes to adolescents, because I love the fact that I can capture the impact humans have left on this world. Essentially, this reflects the world that surrounds me every day. I believe that the human body is a work of art itself, and each piece has been intricately molded and woven together with a specific purpose. As we are all destined for greatness, we have to remember that we were also made to function as humans who make mistakes. Our bodies were not meant to be like robots, constructing simplistic and restricted actions and movements here and there. Rather, we were blessed with a mind of our own as well as a heart. We were given the ability to laugh, imagine, dream, embrace, shed tears, be overwhelmed, and lose hope. As humans, we allow ourselves to be fearful of our past and anxious for our future. We are not reduced to the bony structures of our skeletons – in fact, our flesh gives us a soul, in which we claim courage, determination, and spirit. Through this, our emotions inundate our physical significance, and we are left to communicate with the natural movement of our bodies. For my final project, I aimed to evoke this sense of emotion that can be found within the five senses of the human body. I realized, what better way to discover the beauty of emotions found within a person than to focus on the aspects of my life that make me unique? Through self-portraiture, I challenged myself by maintaining control over what happened both behind the lens as well as in front of it. Not only do I intend to illustrate the immediate fundamentality of the basic five senses – sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch – but I also interpreted the associated structures of the body as being part of a multi-faceted system that is capable of stimulating less tangible, more sentimental ideas and emotions.