There is a strength that rises with transparency, and vulnerability is embraced when one lets go: a warrior is born.
Cayla Coomer is an aspiring artist from Austin, Texas, USA. She has an admiration and passion for analog film; she uses photography as a platform for herself to express her emotions, thoughts, and stories with people who will listen.
She recently created a black and white self-portrait series about the confrontation and battle she faces with body-image and self-love, and how she is learning to come to peace with it through photography.
"I wanted to create something that would push all the negativity I had out, and I decided the best way to push past my insecurities is to show people I love and even strangers the things I was insecure about.
I wanted to ask Cayla some question relating to how this series has impacted her mentally and emotionally, ultimately how it has affected her mental health.
Interview by Lexi Jude (editor)
Your art practice is a representation of who you are, so what narrative or statement are you trying to vocalize through your artistic expression relating to mental health?
The biggest thing for me is hearing other people bash on themselves, and just being so incredibly negative to their bodies. I wanted to do something to show people that it’s ok to let go of the hate towards yourself, and to grow to love who you are.
Why do you think it's important to vocalize the issues relating to mental health that are normally deemed as taboo in society?
We are so in our heads, and we are focused on what everyone else thinks, the more we vocalize what we are feeling, the more people can understand what we’re going through, and help us through the healing process.
Why photography, why does this medium of visual storytelling intrigue you? Why not another art form?
Well as I appreciate every art form, I don’t connect with it to a level I do with photos. Photos speak so much, and it’s not like you snap a photo, and you’re done, you have to think about what you want, figure out what you want your body to do and then capture. It’s a beautiful process that I adore.
What has been the most difficult and gratifying part making this series?
The first thing was posting it. I kept getting cold feet, worried about the judgment I’d get.
The second thing was seeing the reaction I got from everyone, and I was so overwhelmed with how moved people were by this, my messages were blowing up with strangers and friends telling me their body hate stories/what they’ve been through. I loved hearing these stories because I’ve been there, and could relate to every single one, so I just told them to remove the hateful thoughts with positive thoughts, start to rewire their brain to see the beauty they carry.
There is liberation through being honest with yourself, and the struggles you face relating to mental health, through the struggle of vocalizing comes healing.
If you're an artist who's expressing anything mental health-related through their work,
feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or at email@example.com
We'd love to hear from you!