Nicola and I were randomly matched together as roommates freshman year. We knew nothing of each other. I didn’t know her favorite color, her favorite song, her favorite food, her dreams, her aspirations, her fears… and she of me. Here we are four years later and I know more about her than I think she know about herself. I came to Penn not knowing anybody and I would have never thought 4 years later that I would have a new sister, a best friend, a confidant, a lifelong friend. She is absolutely beautiful, inside and out. She showed me that I can overcome any challenges that may be thrown at me during my lifetime, and believed in me when it seemed no one else would. She inspires me with her unrelenting faith and indominable spirit in any situation. We have seen each other at our highest highs and our lowest lows.
These photos represent the joys we have had together and also the sorrow and sadness we have carried each other through. At times just her presence saved me from abandoning my dreams. Never in my life would I have imagined that one person in such a short time could have such a lasting impact on me. It was an easy choice to pick Nicola, because she has been my constant companion, and a daily inspiration to me for the past four years. She has one of the kindest souls I ever had the privilege to meet. The best gifts she has given me did not come in packages wrapped in red ribbon: she gave me the ability to believe in myself, and taught me by example how important it is to put others first. Sometimes people who are in your life only briefly leave a more lasting impression on you than those who have been with you forever. Because of her, I grow where I am planted, and am blooming into something truly spectacular. I am, without question, a better friend, teammate, sister, and overall, a better person because of her. This project is a tribute to the one and only, Nicola Gale Barnes.
Photography and Text by Alexis Borden, Copyright 2015
About the Author: Alexis Borden is a senior Biology and pre-med major at the University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2015.
The past few years have been a trying time for Elena. I have seen her doubt herself, struggle to see her wonderful qualities but I’ve also seen her be unfairly underappreciated by people in her life. Last Spring she took the opportunity to get away, study abroad in Dublin where ultimately she found herself. Her travels seemed to change her outlook and changed the course of the difficult journey she had been on in recent times. Elena experienced so much while abroad and grabbed every opportunity to explore new things and travel all over Europe.
I ask her to tell me about her time there and she begins anecdote, after anecdote, smile after smile. When the expression of pure joy bursts from her face for the first time in what seems like forever it is difficult to do anything but laugh with her.
As she continues to tell her Irish story we stumble upon the topic of men. Elena fell in love abroad, not just with the country but also with J. She talks about the times they spent strolling along the river, talking for hours into the night, dancing to the point of exhaustion and their first kiss. She seems to escape into her own world reliving the romance and I let her disappear there for a moment.
What comes next is unexpected but not surprising. Her content loving contemplation turns to how much she misses him and she begins to grow sad. The uncertainty of when they will be together again clouds her mind and she gazes blankly into the unknown of whats to come.
She breaks down; covering her face, unwilling to show her true emotion of extreme sadness while she is left incomplete without him. Being back in a place where she mainly has negative memories makes her want to run away and not be here even more than before she left for Ireland. I try to find her face but her arms like a protective shield cover it and she shifts from one hidden position to another.
Finally, Elena looks up straight at the camera and it is clear she is overcome with emotion at being so far away from her love, from happiness and comfort. True sadness is in her eyes as she tells me she can’t think of anyone else she wants to see more right now than J and how leaving Ireland has brought her back to a place of insecurity and darkness.
Bright Line Accessories’ mission is to inject color into an otherwise gray world. From socks and shoes to hats, sunglasses, umbrellas, scarfs and jewelry, our products accent anyone’s outfit and encourage his or her personal style. We want people to live colorfully – to feel a small bit of brightness every day. In a city of gray buildings and black coats, it’s easy to blend in. With our use of crisp, vibrant hues and a splash of charm, these accessories can turn a random glance on the sidewalk into a stare.
At Bright Line Accessories, we’re all about easy transitions. Think of the clothes in your wardrobe as a palette. Instead of buying new shirts, pants or jackets, use your clothing as a base and add some bright accessories to your already established look. A black suit becomes new with Bright Line’s brilliant blue tie and orange cufflinks. A tan sweater makes a statement with one of our indigo or jungle green scarves. Need to go straight from work to meet up with friends? Not to worry. Just swap your austere cardigan and flats for Bright Line’s turquoise jewelry and fire-engine-red heels, and you’ll be ready to hit the town.
Eye-catching. Sensible. Spirited. Bright Line is part of a new movement of the fashion-forward, connected by quirk and vigor, bound by practical lifestyles, and fueled by individual style and passions. We hope our products inspire you to express your unique color in a new way. Welcome to Bright Line Accessories.
Editor’s Note: Jared Sobel is sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering at the University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2017
This branding concept was targeted to market to the intellectual, beautiful, and widely talented young woman who still loves to dress up and in style. A Renaissance Woman is classic and sexy, independent and kind, and always curious about the world; she loves to socialize, but enjoys her time spent with herself just as much. For this last project, I wanted to challenge myself to convey this image of the bright Renaissance Woman without heavily relying on the use of models; the pieces themselves and the creative depictions of her interests are meant to reveal her persona to the audience on their own. I chose glistening but tasteful jewelry and dresses in vibrant colors to illustrate how she stands out stunningly in a crowd, and a nude clutch and heels to show that she can be understated as well. The choice of book titles and other colorful accessories were also carefully selected to set the scene. The name and logo that I chose for my brand were meant to be clean and simplistic, in line with the rest of the brand’s identity.
The absence of models in these images allows the audience to better envision themselves as the described Renaissance Woman who owns these pieces because we have removed the visual cue that they are being worn by someone else in the photos. Whoever sees them can process the images from a first person perspective – that these are her possessions – rather than from a third person perspective, where she is a passive onlooker.
Editor’s Note: Celina Tsu is a senior Psychology major enrolled in the College of the University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2015.