We don't see objects as they are, but rather we perceive the light that bounces from them. I believe film to be the second purest recording of this light, the first being the eye. I prefer film photography as my creative medium because it's limited to reality. I can distort reality within the medium by exposing the same strip of film to light as many times as I please (multiple exposures), but this doesn't change the fact that everything captured on film exists outside of my head; each photograph contains an undeniable truth about the physical world we share. My creativity and technical skill thrives through the combination, calculation and capturing of light onto film. I hope my rendition of our shared reality can acquaint you with a perspective familiar, yet otherwise unknown.
“You are unlovable. Nobody loves you. You’re not good enough...”
These are the most hurtful messages I tell myself. Though the words vary, each thought represents a struggle to be content with the person that I am. To cope, I try harder to be more physically attractive, successful, likeable, agreeable or whatever “enough” seems to be to fit the scenario. Or worse, I believe these falsities and cut myself off from others completely, effectively isolating myself from the world.
I believe it's important to put into the world the very thing your heart most desires. Mine is simple, love. I wish to encounter daily messages that reinforce how loved and lovable I truly am, rather than messages of what I should buy or do in order to be loved.
I know that if I feel this way, someone else out there feels the same. Because of this reason, I designed this image to print on street art stickers and place everywhere I go. I hope to spread this message to as many souls as possible; I never want someone to believe about themselves the same painful, false thoughts I've encountered inside myself.
I hope you know and truly believe that not only are you lovable and are capable of giving great love, but you are also the physical manifestation of love itself: YOU ARE LOVE. YOU ARE LOVED.
If this message resonates with you and you’d like to place some of these stickers around your city, please send me a note in the contact form ♥
I sensed your presence beside me, just barely out of peripheral sight. You felt extremely close, though I didn't see you. I was busy focusing on light.
I turned to catch you fixated on me in this trance-like state. Alarms went off in my body. My soul began to scream, ESCAPE.
You giggled nervously, realizing you'd been seen. A deep knowing swept over every particle of my being. I needed to get as far away from you as possible, as soon as possible.
As a young girl, I began feeling societal pressure to be both sexually desirable and morally pure. Growing up in the age of the internet has only solidified this paradox within me. These photos serve to represent an intersection of two extremes.
Taylor Rico captured by Saad of Dropout Photography. April 2018.
My art is an attempt at human connection. I lack the ability to openly + accurately express myself by any other means. I hope that by encountering my efforts, someone somewhere can relate to my message, realize a connection, and understand they're not alone in that feeling.
I decided to begin my new series, Lessons in Loving, with a concept that explores the deep inner-workings of the self. Had I not put forth the effort to understand who/what I truly am, this series undoubtedly would not exist. I believe that knowing yourself is an act of love that opens pathways towards greater connection with others, self-purpose, and a Higher Power.
I want to focus on the present,
but my hands shake as I contemplate your presence—
or lack thereof.
And now I'm scared of any interaction
that doesn't involve the infliction to which I'm attracted.
Unaware of my body's existence,
I distance my emotions further from my conscience
until they return in a fond sense
of panic attacks
And now my hands are back to shaking uncontrollably.
All I want is control of me.
Poem by Taylor Rico. October 2013.
35mm film multiple exposure. Entire image captured in a Pentax K1000. In order of exposures: fire pit (Texas); Copper Mountain Resort landscape (Colorado); Model Greg Guttin (California).
I don't do it to please you
I don't care if you understand
I do what I want,
when I want.
Simply because I can.
Original photos by Saad of Dropout Photography (2017).
Before I had the pleasure of calling Mary my friend, I knew her as the most talented artist in my grade—if not my entire middle school. Mary's intricate paintings have always sparked within me a sense of wonder and possibility. Her style and subjects possess a whimsicality that could only come from a fantastical mind (and if you know Mary, you know she's one of a kind).
Admiring Mary's creations through the years, I was infatuated with the idea of creating art myself, but I lacked faith in my ability to make anything worthwhile. Mary was a large part in the development of my creative confidence as I began shooting on 35mm film. She's always encouraged my ideas with enthusiasm and I've captured some of my favorite, most meaningful photos with her.
I now know the honor of being subject to the very hand that's had me awestruck for some time. Mary Wendel painted me in oil on wood with gold leaf detail (original photo by David Yamamoto).
Mary, without you I wouldn't know the importance of encouraging others to create, as well as believe in my own ability to make something valuable to myself. For this and your friendship, I'm forever grateful.
I've had the privilege of working closely with fellow film photographer, Mitchell Allison, in three distinct ways. The photos below are the result of our creative collaboration from September to October 2017.
First, I took Mitch's portrait on 35mm film, which I also exposed to flowers and neon light:
Second, Mitch captured me on 35mm film in Chinatown, Los Angeles:
Third, we both shot on the same roll of 35mm film in our own respective cameras. Mitch shot the first round of exposures, I shot the second. Neither of us knew exactly what the other was capturing, though we did designate the subject matter beforehand. The outcome was a surprising delight:
I'm grateful for the opportunity to create with talented artists such as Mitch. If you're interested in collaborating with me, please send me a message through the contact form linked below.
Mitch, I can't thank you enough for your time, patience, and perspective. You've helped me expand my understanding of film photography and all its wonderful possibilities.
The thing I enjoy most about subjecting myself to another photographer's lens, besides the obvious notion of vanity, is human perception. The fact that I, one constant being, can be perceived in countless ways is intoxicating. Because human perception involves the nervous system, I am interpreted uniquely to each human experience. Meaning, I am literally a different person to everyone I encounter. I believe this phenomenon unconsciously manifests itself through portrait photography. I find great delight in meeting my varying selves through the lens of my captors.