Justina McMinn: Self



Photography, Text and Video Interview by Justina McMinn, Copyright 2017




Self-love is dynamic. It is a concept talked about a lot today in our generation. Self-love is simply not just a state of feeling good. Self-love is a state of appreciation for one self that grows from the times you did not love or appreciate yourself. Self-love comes from the times you laid in bed and tormented yourself with thoughts like, “I’m not good enough” and “I don’t deserve it”. These moments of despair expand the self-love within us and we develop compassion for ourselves as human beings and accept our weaknesses as well as our strengths. It is not suppressing your weaknesses and only acknowledging your strengths. Rather, inviting both in with open and loving arms. Self-love isn’t something we can find in material things or other people. It is an internal project you can only engage in on your own.

Through these series of portraits, I aim to capture the real development of self-love and how up and down that process can look and feel. I wanted to capture the model in a nude state to demonstrate the vulnerability in finding comfort and contentment. She is reflecting and analyzing her experiences and feelings, good and bad. The process of unconditional self-love isn’t always glitter and gold, it takes forgiveness and trail and error. This series shows the despair, fulfillment, and happiness in the journey to loving yourself.

Inspired by The Guest House by Rumi:

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,

and invite them in.




Portrait of Justina McMinn by Victoria Meng, Copyright 2017


About The Author: Justina McMinn is a Freshman enrolled in the College of the University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2021.

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