Toronto-based photographer Robert MacNeil recently submitted some of his most recent work to me and I thought it very fitting for this month’s topic of Vulnerability. Robert calls this series “Until the Very End,” and the meaning is muti-layered. He explained why and how this series came about:
“The series “Until the very end” evolved through several magazine shoots with various models. Over time you get to know the models. Many of the models I’ve photographed have become friends. Sometimes we’ll talk for hours on end. The average viewer sees beautiful models, but has no idea of the challenges they have faced or face everyday with their inner being.
“Like most people, they are judged on their looks, but models are sometimes judged solely on their looks. You’re too tall, too short, too skinny, too beautiful, you have too many tattoo’s, etc… Some models fight daily depression, social anxieties, and harm themselves while striving for their dreams. Over time this series has slowly evolved from capturing one model’s strength, proudly showing the scars of what she has overcome, to others whose lives feel like they are standing behind a fence for the world to see through and judge. This fence unfortunately offers only minimal protection from the outside world. Symbolism is used heavily to represent their fears, their desires and daily unseen dangers.
“I hope you think twice before judging anyone. It’s important that we actually take the time to learn what people overcome daily in order to step out into the world, until the very end.”
It’s so easy for us to create a mode of judgement in our own lives. When we ourselves feel insecure we tend to take out our insecurities on other people. At the same time, vulnerability wouldn’t exist without a fear of judgement. Perhaps, although I’d prefer not to have been judged in my life, it’s because of that judgement that I’ve become a more open person. I don’t believe that “what doesn’t kill us only makes us stronger,” but that what doesn’t kill us only leads us to a more open, happier path. Remember that each time we judge, we create a piece of negative energy inside ourselves. Let’s all be open, budding plants as Spring approaches!
Emily Claire Blewett
Jessica Chin King