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Emily Cheng: The Masks We Wear

Wing_Hei_Emily_Cheng_Assignment_1_Sequential_Portrait_Emotions_Happiness_Sadness_Love_Despair_masks_

The Masks We Wear

 

 

Photography, Video and Text by Wing Hei Emily Cheng, Copyright 2018

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THE MASKS WE WEAR

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At Penn, we struggle with expressing our emotions. “Penn Face,” hiding our hardships and failures behind a perfect facade, is a well-documented phenomenon on campus. We work so hard to maintain the illusion that we have everything together, concealing the emotional highs and lows that are part and parcel of college life. We’re afraid that expressing our emotions will make us vulnerable and weak.

We all wear masks. We say “I’m fine” even as we’re depressed inside. We post smiling photos on Instagram even as we lie in bed sobbing. We don’t text back even when what we’d like to say is “I love you.” We maintain indifference even when we want to express real excitement. We keep ourselves at a distance from friends and loved ones, never exposing the emotions behind our fake smiles. There is such strong dissonance between what we really feel and what we show to others. Is it really a surprise that Penn has so much depression and so many suicides when we all seem to bottle up our emotions until we can’t take it anymore?

This project aims to unveil the full emotional spectrum that lies behind the masks we wear everyday – melancholy, depression, love, passion, manic despair and rapturous joy. It places our ups and downs directly in public view. My hope is that we can be a little more honest, a little more open with one another. That we can embrace our own vulnerabilities and let them shine.

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Portrait of Emily Cheng by Mu Qiao, Copyright 2018

Portrait of Emily Cheng by Mu Qiao, Copyright 2018

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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.

This entry was posted in Art, Blog, Fashion, Glamour, Models, Photography, Popular Culture, Portraiture, Student Life, UPenn, UPenn Photography, Video, Women.

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