Ollie Lauricella: Through My Eyes
Through My Eyes is a photojournalistic as well as a digital video project based on queer identity and experience. This project takes a physical form through the use of 4×5 photography as well as a digital video installation. Through My Eyes consists of a series of 3 images and 1 video per subject, taken in a space where they feel the most comfortable and themselves. Each subject touches upon their own experiences being queer such as their coming out stories, how being queer has impacted their lives, and any notable aspects of their journey that they wish to share. Through My Eyes aims to highlight that aspect of individuality within each and every queer person. It shows that not only do queer people relate with each other through universal experiences, but also shows how each person has their own story to tell. The merging of 4×5 photography as well as the use of video creates a sense of intimacy between the subjects and the viewers. The addition of video in the project shows the viewers that the subjects are not just part of a still image. These stories are meant to give a voice to real people who have gone through various points in their lives. The video aspect of the project is meant to complement and elevate the photographic portion by digging further into the backgrounds of each person and have the subjects themselves share their own stories
Describe how you envision the end result of your project. If it is a work in progress please indicate your planned completion date.
The end result of this project will include 15 portraits and 5 videos covering the stories of 5 different subjects. Each portrait will be printed at 24×30″ and displayed on a gallery wall with a projection of the video components in the same room. Through My Eyes is currently a work in progress and I plan to complete this project by April 1.
What inspired you to create this project? Include any relevant artists.
I was inspired to create this project because as a queer person, I have always felt left out or behind on the timeline of life. Queer people tend to have big milestones such as their first kiss or first serious relationship much later in life since we spend time trying to figure out who we are first. We watch our friends go through life and have wonderful things happen to them while we are put on the sidelines. This project to me shows that there is no right way to have experiences. I want every queer person that views this project to know that they are welcome and that there is no shame in being who you are. Some artists that inspired the project are Diane Arbus and Vivian Maier.
Describe any challenges you faced creating this project, and the solutions that helped you to overcome these problems.
Some challenges that I faced while creating the project were transporting all of the analogue equipment such as the bulky 4×5 camera as well as film malfunctions such as light leaks or having the image slightly out of focus and needing to reshoot.
What are you most proud of about this project?
I am most proud of being able to share the stories of queer people and amplify their voices as well as helping other queer people feel seen and welcomed.
Have you had any success getting your work out into the world? Do you have suggestions for other artists?
I have had success getting my work out into the world through a solo exhibition in the Toronto Metropolitan University Image Factory. Some advice that I would give to other artists is to always be sending projects out to galleries or magazines. The more you send out, the bigger reach your work will have.
Ollie Lauricella is a Toronto-based media artist/photographer currently studying at Toronto Metropolitan University. Ollie creates work in both digital and analog mediums with a focus on queer theory. Most projects are done in a documentary/photojournalistic style but Ollie also likes to produce street photography as well as digital collages. The main focus of Ollie’s projects is to not only create art but to also build a welcoming community.