This series is a creation that has patiently been developing throughout my life unbeknownst that the internal struggles I faced would be the contributing factors leading me to create one of my most important photo series thus far. The Essence of Everything is a photographic portrait collection of individuals showcasing their passions which were found in the pursuit of happiness and belonging. Using a large format digital camera, I immersed myself into aspects of everyone’s lives capturing decisive moments that depict the relatable and enlightening glimpses into purpose. As it is when you find your passion that you will find your purpose.
There was always a feeling while growing up that I was never doing the thing I was meant to do while growing up. I played sports, had friends, did everything just like everyone else, however I would often disassociate from the real world and get caught up daydreaming. It was then that I was diagnosed with the common learning disability of Attention Deficit Disorder, which also accompanied with it other mental hardships such as severe anxiety and later on depression. This depression is what led me to create a surrealism series of self-portraits capturing the inward experiences outwardly that would inevitably lead to this series. This transpired because it was through those pieces that I finally found my purpose and meaning in life. It is because I found my purpose that I set out to find other likeminded people who have also discovered purpose or a sense of belonging so that I may showcase where they find happiness in life.
I discovered my love for photography while in high school and took every photography class possible. Upon entering my college career, I decided photography be a hobby and set it aside to pursue an engineering physics major with hopes of working for NASA. Two years later in a chemistry class I caught myself daydreaming yet again and I heard a voice in my head say this wasn’t right and that I needed to be doing something different. I was left with an unmistakable overwhelming desire to redirect my efforts back towards photography. Having had a previous understanding for photography and then becoming even more versed with various forms of photography I wanted what is supposed to be my best work yet to be made using something I never tried, thus giving birth to my use of the Mamiya 645+ large format digital camera. This equipment would allow me to capture events in the greatest detail possible.
Struggling with A.D.D. has been a way of life I became accustomed to, however, the anxiety and depression would prove to be the real hardships. Depression put me in a place I never thought I would be in life and then coupled with the embarrassment of telling family and friends. This dark place I was in helped me see the greater meaning to life and belonging. After finding and knowing exactly where my purpose in life is I knew I wanted to show other people where their purpose is in life and how they found their sense of belonging and place in this world that offered them happiness even through struggles we all face. Showing the very thing that separates us as individuals is precisely what makes us the same. We all want to belong and when you realize what you are truly passionate about you find where you fit into this world.
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- DPLA rights
© 2020, Zac Taylor, All Rights Reserved
- Date submitted
19 July 2022
- Is format of
Backlit Archival Lexjet Print