To highlight depression or social issues that may contribute to the mental well-being of individuals, I decided to combine the glamorous, filtered images that we see every day on social media platforms with tears, to show what this unrealistic expectation is doing to the mental well-being of women today.  

Tell us more about this project: 
This project came from my love of portraiture, my passion to change the way mental health is perceived, and to support organisations in their mission to highlight depression and social issues that affect mental well-being. Depression is a disease of the mind and cannot be seen on the outside, like a physical injury. So unless depression is highlighted or discussed, the issue will often go unnoticed or ignored.  

I decided to combine the glamorous, filtered images that we see every day on social media platforms, such as Instagram – the almost perfect world that has been created, that has formed an unrealistic expectation on people to look flawless every time they post an image of themselves – and then take that perfect image and distort it in some way, by adding a tear, to show what this unrealistic expectation is doing to the mental well-being of women today. 

While looking at what we perceive to be ‘our best’ may be a natural part of living in our society, social media is publicising and highlighting unrealistic expectations of beauty. The constant barrage of perfectly filtered photos that appear on Instagram are bound to knock many people’s confidence, and feelings of inadequacy may set in. I wanted to create this idea of beauty and show the damage that this ‘reality’ causes to one’s self-esteem. 
Who or what inspires you? 
I’m inspired by photographers and creatives across the board, and I like things that are considered different or that will prompt change. I enjoy using my imagination to portray the world how I see or fantasise it.  

My favourite photographers are Tara Lesher of ‘Tara Lesher Photography’, Sujata Setia of ‘But Natural Photography’ and Katie Forshaw of ‘Make Me Magical’. These photographers/digital artists focus on creative photography and Photoshop. Almost like fantasy photography, they use their creative minds to combine portraiture and digital art to create beautiful pieces.  

What advice would you give to yourself as a first year starting at USW? 
Believe in yourself more. Be a bit bolder and go with your beliefs. Don’t be afraid of your own creative mind, even if it isn’t what people are used to seeing. Research and learn as much as you can before starting any project and just enjoy the experience, because it will help you grow not only as an artist but as a person too. 

Can creativity save the world?  
Creativity opens the mind. A creative society broadens our perspectives – it can help overcome prejudices, expose people to new ideas and skills, and can create a sense of community. Stories help us build a better world and we, as creatives, have the power to influence that. 

Which mural statement resonates with you the most? 
I like all of the statements, but if I had to choose one it would be ‘great is never normal’ because I feel normal can never be great if you conform to social standards. You have to be unique and push boundaries away from what is classed as ‘normal’ to stand out and be something great! 

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever had? 
To shoot what interests me. Remember quality is better than quantity, and remember your passion. If you are passionate about something, then run with it. Don’t give up on your dreams and ambitions. Your time to shine will come. 

What makes Photography at USW so special? 
USW opens up a variety of opportunities and gives you an insight into the photography world. There were many areas I was less knowledgeable in before I started at USW, so the experience and opportunity to follow my dreams were given to me by USW, which I will be forever grateful for. The staff were amazing and there to help when I needed a push in a certain direction, and they provided me with an experience that will be with me for the rest of my life.  

Being a student at USW gave me a lot of confidence that I didn’t have before starting here. There are opportunities to integrate with other areas in the University, not just the areas you study, which is good for building community and opportunities when you leave to start your future.