Three young women, three different styles, three different personalities -- unified by a single thread.
With a photographer of evident calibre, synchronized blazers and a location to fit into the picture, we had our eyes set on telling a story, one that has strung the three of us together. We have so much to say, so much to share, but such a thin line to walk on. This I witnessed when we were seated around a cafe one afternoon trying to put our thoughts into words, and, within the strength we hoped to disperse, there is vulnerability and fragility in worried eyes and shivers.
No matter, I decided.
Meet Min, meet Phoebe, meet May -- birds of a feather flocking together, trying to break out of a cage.
PHOTOGRAPHS BY JAY JOHAR
We could only think of one photographer to reach out to for this collaboration; Jay Johar. A teacher, a producer and a photographer all at once, Jay's work is undisputedly singular. One can recognize his work from the retro, almost analog way he post-processes, blue tones, off-whites and all.
It was an instantaneous, mutual decision among the three of us when we met up for the first time as a group -- two of us being bloggers and Phoebe being a model, we were familiar with Jay's work. He'd shot familiar faces before and we'd always wanted to collaborate, so we reached out. This series of photographs is the result, and we are not disappointed.
Meet Phoebe. Contradiction personified. A misfit misunderstood. Fierce and unapologetic, her mind the swirling eye of the walking tempest that she is.
Phoebe drew me in at first glance. It was not so much the power in her poses and photos, more so the personality you get to witness when meeting her in real life -- it is akin to a revelation, like tasting sugar when the sky sends down snow.
I have come to recognize her idiosyncrasies in the time window that I have known her. They are quirky to an extent that it is almost peculiar. What with the front of a woman firmly pivoted, Phoebe's scattered pouts and blushes are rather unnerving against her frequent expositions of her thoughts and viewpoints. She'd be motor-mouthing through her stance on gendered stereotypes, and then she'd be a fit of giggles and squeals at the slightest distraction of food.
She is easy to miss, often on the sidelines, often out of sight, but take her center stage and you will never want her to leave. That was me when she waltzed into my life in tailored pants and an off-the-shoulder top, for on the tip of her tightly-coiled tongue is a treasure trove of wit and savvy.
What rang charming to me was her reserved nature. It is almost like Min refuses to cause friction, whether it be accidental or not, always choosing to remain silent unless spoken to. Time spent with Min told me a far more interesting story; she actively pursues positivity through her introverted, eclectic way, is sort of an unbreakable rock when it comes to forming her own opinions and is an adorable fluff of laughter when she lets you in, past her walls of carefully guarded thoughts and skillfully curated positivity.
And then there's me. May. The Mayden. I spent a copious amount of time wondering what I should write about myself, cringing every time I think of a metaphor for which to encapsulate myself in, subsequently hitting the backspace key, seeing a blank space and then a blinking cursor.
Where do I begin? I like cats. I'm a bit of a scatterbrain, and clumsy to my core. If I were to describe myself, I'd say I'm pretty boring, am addicted to pretty prose and am in desperate love with writing, and I guess that is me; the writer. The one who attempts to conjure up universes to scribble galaxies into life, to string stars into orbit and to tip comets into descent. It is the only way I know how to speak, the only way I know how to tell stories.
Dressed in black, dressed in white, dressed in black and white, but existing in gray areas. Together, we are a collision of personalities, pieces that aren't supposed to fit together but somehow do, and this we attribute to the identity and ethnicity we've been born with.
We wanted to explore the idea of power behind different fronts and faces, especially since the three of us are unique to each other personality-wise but not mutually exclusive in the sense that we are of the minority. We represent the less seen and the less heard, and, with our passions and experiences, we hope to at least contribute an inkling of a voice within the circle.
We had several meetings for this collaboration, the first pre-shoot frozen yogurt session being the first time all three of us met as a group. I'd known Phoebe and Min separately before then, and this was the same for the both of them. It was only with the inception of this collaboration some three months ago that we finally met up for the first time as a group. We clicked instantly, the root of this collaboration binding us together. It was simple: we are a group of young women hoping to empower the less heard.
As individuals, we are vastly different, but together, we are three voices converging into one. We're saying, "We're here, and we want to start a conversation."
Find Jay's work on Instagram and his website. Find Phoebe on Instagram and her post here. Find Min on Instagram and her post here.