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20x24 inch wet plate collodion ambrotypes of a tribal fusion belly dancer, shot for the Execution Project.
Published:
Sheut - 20x24 in wet plate collodion black glass ambrotype - 2013 - Final image of Francesca for the Execution Project
When asked “Is there anything specific you can think of, a particular struggle, sacrifice you’ve made, or obstacle you’ve had to overcome to pursue your passion?” Francesca said:
“I gave up my passion that is dance and creating art for a number of years due to “expectations of society” and the role I thought I had to play, the box I thought I had to fit in, in order to “make money” and to “be a success”. I got my degree in Marriage and Family Therapy, which took a total of 6 years, and a lot of student loan debt. Which certainly won’t go to waste… however, not even a year after graduating, mid way through my job as an adolescent therapist, I realized I didn’t want the life I thought I wanted of sitting behind a desk seeing clients every day. I love navigating people towards their own inner empowerment, but I know there are so many more ways to do that then through the traditional ways I have been taught. That there has got to be more to life than this. I would say my biggest struggle has been breaking away from the traditional expectations of society. “How are you going to support yourself as just a dancer?” is a question I often get. It’s like the same questions the Hartt students would get: “You’re getting a degree in music? What are you going to do, play music in the NYC subway?” It burns my heart a bit. To have the confidence to pursue your heart’s desire and creativity is something that takes a lot of self awareness– a really solid relationship with yourself, I think.”

For this image we decided symbolize the expectations of Francesca being stuck inside a particular lifestyle, one dictated by society, as opposed to a way of life coming from within. The actual glass of the Ambrotype represent a sort of window, a view of another world, the world Francesca is trapped in. She appears floating to the surface, in an effort to finally break through. She appears slightly out of focus, because she’s not quite to the surface yet, more on the brink. Only time will tell if she makes it through.

You can see our interview with Francesca here, along with behinds the scenes footage of us making the 20×24 mammoth black glass ambrotype:


These are the other two plates from the shoot:
Ghaziya - 20x24 inch wet plate collodion black glass ambrotype - 2013