Interview date: 4/17/15
When first giving the idea to Ethan of participating in my portrait series, he was super excited. He was ready to start and take photos right away.
Days passed and I didn’t hear from Ethan, I wasn’t sure if he had gotten really busy or if he had changed his mind.
A friend had told me that she spoke to Ethan and told me he started to have second thoughts and was actually getting intimated or scared (our words). Then about a full week after talking to Ethan I saw him while screen-printing with with my friend. I made sure not to mention the process, because I know it is a sensitive area subject, many people don’t want too be involved. So I kept with the small chat. Then all of a sudden he apologized and explained being nervous about the process. How at first he was all ready, then it became more real.
We set up a day and met a couple days later. I was ready to listen because I knew he had and was really thinking about what I was asking him. He took to heart the process. I respected that.
There is such a beauty talking to people, many say I am an emotional being which I am and I love it. I love having a person exposed themselves to me and I to them. I love listening and being quiet for them to speak; as if my time is a pure essence of my self that I am giving them.
Ethan reminded me of this…
I was figuring out my camera when he walked into the room. We started talking about summer plans. Without any real gateway, he started talking about himself and how he is reserved person. Not that he is different with different people, but keeps aspects of himself away from others. Then he began talking about how he wonders if he was in a new town, who would he become. Would different aspects of himself be highlighted, then the aspects that showed in Athens. He said something about keeping the same front or face on and that is the one everyone knows as Ethan. He said he works to keep that and to not it have it tainted. Eye contact was sparing… and it came as if a reassurance. He continued on saying, he doesn’t really feel exposed… that he is firm in who he is. That he is in a happy place.
He spoke of hoping for a day with “comfort”. He gave the example of our professor,how he teaches then goes home and has a comfortable house then does art in the evenings. You could see this relaxed gaze go over his face.
He spoke how his family plays games together (he himself being a game maker). I asked him if his family ever played his games he created. He said one brother helped him play test one game but he kept his games to himself… Then he continued by saying that he was really reserved on what he shared with his family. That they knew parts of him and he loved them but they didn’t really know him.
This was interesting, He was telling me that he kept aspects of himself only to himself and shared only select parts to people. And if the possibility came when moving he may share different parts of himself and keep what he showed in Athens to himself. This idea interested me because it was similar to another interviewee said to me. This idea of being reserved was really important to Ethan.
Interview Date: 4/3/15
At the beginning of the interview, Mike was calm and I was actually calm too. Humor entered the conversation quickly, to lighten the heaviness of the discussion. We started out just talking as friends or classmates.
First he talked about how he grew up in the small town of Amanda, Ohio. Where everyone knew each other and everyone is a strong/ strike Christian (hard right home). He spoke quickly of his past, how he used to be heavier and the only aspect that made him “cool” (my terms) was his drawing abilities. He said both of these backgrounds made him switch “personalities” when around different people, and this adapted even further after he loss weight.
“I still do this now” he told me and has even turned down different personalities of himself (stoner mike). I asked him if this was simply adapting to the situations he is in and he replied with, “that’s boring”. I also asked if the change in personalities could simply be him growing up and getting older. He thought about my question and then responded that if he said that he would be admitting to not being a child and would have to come to turns with being an adult. I respected that.
He continued on telling me of his time in a clinic for eating disorders, he explained that he never talked about it in Athens (the home of our college town) because it wasn’t part of him here. He didn’t want to be asked about it. I asked him if it exposed him here. He never said it did, but stated that he wanted to share that and that part of him was connected to another place, not this one.
“Manhood” was something else that Mike talked about. He told me how his father had a book about making men into knights and that’s how he felt he was raised. In this idea, men seek a set list of attributes and women seek to break out of their given attributes. He told me he searched for these but they were not part of what makes him Mike. His example was that he “would not take a zumba class".
Mike unlike the women, I did not have to prod he opened up quickly. Still reserved and held back but did so modestly and guides closely to my questions.
Person Response By Momo
Presented on: 6/18/15
What’s exposure? And to what extend is this exposure accountable? Is it really necessary for someone to expose themselves to others? Surely, to a certain extent, the concept that vulnerability can be strength makes sense, but we also need our self-esteem, don’t we?
When Crystalyn invited me to participate in her exposed series, I excitedly agreed. But, then, I started to question if I am qualified enough to do this project.
My name’s Hongmo, but I go by Momo. I escaped China and came to the United States for college four years ago. I love adventuring and hate people who are ignorant. Whenever I sneeze in public, I’d make it sound like a cough, just to avoid interacting with others.After my death, I’d like to be cremated and be sent to the outer space.
Most people portray me as this innocent, nice girl who is quiet and sometimes shy, which is partially right but completely wrong. Don’t twist it. What I meant is that I think it’s just too naive to describe someone with only a few words, since every individual is a complicated creature and is constantly changing.
Anyway, the fact that I’m misunderstood by a lot of people makes me think whether it is my problem of being too reserved or are people just too blind to see. I don’t really have a specific answer to that, unfortunately, but if I had to guess, I’d say it has to do with both, more or less. This fast-pace world has granted people plenty of reasons to be negligent which is very typical a thing that doesn’t need to be explained more here. And it’s irritating and frustrating to be misunderstood, but I can’t blame it all on others because when I examine me, I found that, a lot of times, I consciously selectively present myself, that I deliberately keep things away from people, from my friends, families, and my love.
Isn’t it a bit hypocritical for me to talk about exposure here with you? Truly, I don’t know that much about it, and all I can tell you that choosing to hide something isn’t necessarily wrong or bad, it’s just a choice. I think that if somebody feels the need to protect themselves by hiding or even lying in order to make it fit with who they intrinsically think that they are, if they are not hurting anybody, I think it’s okay.
Artist Response Interviewee: Johnna
If a personal response was not written from the interviewee, I personally wrote response to the interview.