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Emily Cheng: Objects of Desire

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Photography and Text by Emily Cheng, Copyright 2018

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OBJECTS OF DESIRE

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Last year, I discovered the Minimalism movement after watching a documentary on Netflix. Ridden with anxiety over school and recruiting among other things, I embraced Minimalism as a way to banish the physical and mental clutter in my life. This entailed taking a good, hard look at all of my belongings, including my beloved collection of over 50 pairs of shoes.

Minimalism teaches that you should love people, not things. But for so many of us, breaking up with the objects in our life is no easy task. When we’re exposed to over 5,000 advertisements a day, we’re conditioned to lust after material goods, to see the continuous attainment of things as success. We are constantly compelled to buy more and more clothes, shoes, accessories, makeup, with the false notion that every next purchase will change our lives for the better.

Millennials are slowly dispelling the myth that material wealth is the path to happiness. As the generation struggling with crippling student debt, a difficult job market and lack of access to home ownership, we have a different definition of success than our predecessors, one that is not defined by having more stuff. Certainly, there is a tension between these beliefs and the obsession with buying that advertising imbues in us. This photo series, “Objects of Desire,” explores the complex relationship that we have with our belongings. It aims to depict the lust we feel towards these status symbols, how we place them on a pedestal as the solution to a better self, a better life.

I am by no means finished with my minimalism journey – even with my decluttering efforts, my closets are still plentiful and my shoe racks filled. However, I believe that unpacking the feelings we have towards our belongings, these objects of desire, is a good start.

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About The Author: Wing Hei Emily Cheng is a Senior enrolled in the College of the University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2018. To access additional articles by Ms. Cheng, click herehttp://tonywardstudio.com/blog/emily-cheng-looking-photographs-john-szarkowski/

 

This entry was posted in Accessories, Erotica, Fashion, Glamour, Models, Photography, Popular Culture, Student Life, UPenn, UPenn Photography, UPenn: Photography Students, Women.

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