Jasmin Smoots: In Between Moments

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Photography and Text by Jasmin Smoots

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In Between Moments

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It’s incredible how our emotions can change minute to minute, second to second, moment to moment. In the blink of an eye, a smile shrinks becoming no more than a distant memory, the eyes lose the intensity they just held, and laughter is replaced by contemplative silence. The reverse is possible, too, just less common.

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Those moments are difficult to seize; they aren’t meant to be seen. But when they are captured, the moments in between the moments, the transition moments, something beautiful rises to the surface. The transition between the moments tells the real story, especially in a sequence of photos. The break moments between each pose, the moments when you think no one is watching so you bite your lip or pick at your nails, let your mind wander to the thoughts worrying you, those moments.

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In those moments, we catch a slight glimpse into the person: their thoughts, the feelings hidden behind their face. In those moments, vulnerability floats to the surface. It emerges through the eyes but the rest of the face enhances the story the eyes tell. These are the “off” moments. The moments when we aren’t “on,” the moments when our mind turns in on itself, forgetting about the outside world.

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But, these are moments in between the moments, the moments not meant to be seen, the transitional moments that don’t seem to really exist. They don’t last very long and they don’t show up the photos we keep to remember the good moments. If you look down or look away, the in between moment will pass unseen as if it never existed.

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Photography and Text by Jasmin Smoots. Copyright 2016

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About The Author:  Jasmin Smoots is a senior Communications major enrolled in the College of the University of Pennsylvania.  Class of 2016.

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Portrait of Jasmin Smoots by Zoe Yun Zou, Copyright 2016

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Leniqueca Welcome: Je suis desolate

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Photography and Text by Leniqueca Welcome

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It is another day but it is of no consequence to her. It is never a new day.  Each day, each hour, each second simply counts the time served in this sentence of his. She is a servant to her sins and a martyr for his. To curb her paralysis, she clutches to her chest the only life remaining in that house. It is his exuviae that has now become an extension of her body. She knows every edge, every corner, every crease, every pen stroke, every particle that composes the card.

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She knows it in the way she wishes she could recall every surface of that which is no longer with her. She would sacrifice every part of herself for another moment with him.  Her mind is tortured by the emptiness that has come to fill the space of a perfect story. The postcard haunts her. He haunts her. But she longs for the comfort of this specter.  The words like his gentle whispers qualms the fire in her lungs. Her breathing slows to the resemblance of something bearable.

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But quickly her eyes become damp again. She tries to free herself from its clutch but it is only in this sickening submersion that she can orient her body.  The passion she feels in the grasp of the words he left is the limit of her existence. She reads it again as if the words are not burned into her.

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For a moment the sides of her mouth elevate allowing an exiled sentiment; reprieve. Brief reprieve. He has committed her to this asylum. If the binds meant to thwart her urges to run were not present, she is unwilling to plot her escape.

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She capitulates and her smile is a distant memory once more. She cannot recall a self before him. An image of a future without him holds only a silhouette in the space where she should be. Her imagination of the future is as lifeless as the reflection taunting her in the mirror in the rare instances she allows her mind to wander and in shameful betrayal it abandons his memory.

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Disenchanted with the idea of resuscitation she gives herself over to her wreckless liminality, floating through the places that he left, reading and re-reading the words to fan the flame, angry at his desertion, longing for his love, hopeful for her destruction at the chance that she may be reunited with her loss.

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Photography and Text by Leniqueca Welcome, Copyright 2016

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About The Author: Leniqueca Welcome is a native of Trinidad and Tobago, has a degree in Architecture, and is currently enrolled in the graduate program of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania.

Gloria Yuen: The New + The Old

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Photography and Text by Gloria Yuen

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The New + The Old

The background is comprised of food in pans sizzling over freshly tempered stoves, the muffled voices of aunts and uncles and the occasional pet dog over top like the wrinkly layers of a still-steaming qian ceng gao*. My clothes are soaked in the smell of burnt wax. One of my roommates is laughing at a TV show. As I set up my camera, the three sprouts of incense in the next room shed ashes into their pots; it’s their strange little demonstration of autumn, as we prepare for a new season of our own: Chinese New Year.

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They’re a bit nervous I can tell. My mom teases me with silly questions. My dad doesn’t know where to look. The sisters giggle and start singing songs as I watch the clock count down. My friends have memories, but have difficulty forming the past into words.

They ask me what I want them to do.

To form a portrait, I say slowly, brain churning. Past, present, future.

Um, they chorus.

Say whatever you want to say. Camera adjust, button press – and the red light begins winking.

I clear my throat.

So. 

How do you feel?

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Photography, Video and Text by Gloria Yuen, Copyright 2016.

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About The Author: Gloria Yuen is a sophomore majoring in English enrolled in the College of the University of Pennsylvania.  Class of 2018.

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