Reality of Youth Going Backwards in Vain
Reality of Youth Going Backwards in Vain was made in response to a time when I could not think of anything other than existence. During this phase I wrote that ‘to me this ‘life’ is a somewhat vicious cycle of you’re born, you’re educated, you work, you maybe have children, perhaps get married (not necessarily these days), maybe retire and then you die… Everything else in between is killing time.’
Through self portraiture I have visualized each of these seven stages, having thought about clothing and locations through cliche portrayals, family style and personal taste. Moving through the stages sees a numerical and color pattern emerge. The number seven is significant in both life and this work. The series begins with seven people in the image, but with every following photograph there is a loss of a figure until a reduction from two to none in the final scene. This decrease represents the passing of time and others around us as we age and move on with our lives.
There are also seven colors in Sir Isaac Newtons color spectrum. I followed the sequence across the series deriving symbolism from the colors and matching them with the life stages they are helping to portray. I spent my early teenage years dressing in bright colors as a way of expressing my individuality. This was not done to seek attention but instead expressed my feelings of not wanting to conform to any particular social group. In these photographs I use color to stand out from the other figures as these photographs represent my potential life journey.
Titles for the images are made up from the English language’s six questioning words. These are to aid the viewer in thinking about the pictures and their own life, whilst the final photograph is left with no words as no one knows what happens after life and in death we can no longer question. The project title is a mnemonic for remembering the colors of the rainbow whilst referring to the inevitability of the aging process.
The philosopher Søren Kierkegaard said that life begins and ends with the individual. Ultimately it is our own decisions that shape our lives and regardless of those we keep close, we always die alone.
Jocelyn Allen (b. 1988 Birmingham, England) earned an MA in Photography from the London College of Communication. In 2013 she self-published her first book, Reality of Youth Going Backwards in Vain. website