Freestyle Academy proudly presents

Trapped: A Senior Listener Lyric Photographic Diptych by Aidan O'Leary (2017)

My listener lyric represents the experience of someone who identifies as nonbinary. I learned from my interviewee that identifying as non binary is not well understood by many people which leads to assumptions and can make it hard for those who identify to feel acknowledged.

My essay explores the experience of being nonbinary through the lens of picking an outfit for prom. Through the interview with my subject, I learned that they often feel gendered by their friends because of the clothing they chose to wear. To focus on this detail I chose prom as the main metaphor because it is a topic that many people can relate to as well as an event that is traditionally heteronormative. Prom provided the perfect environment for me to express the pressure felt by my subject to be and act a certain way based on society's norms. Because of this pressure, my subject expressed that it is hard for them to find a place where they feel they completely fit in. I chose this passage, “The dress that made you feel beautiful makes you feel trapped. Trapped, inside of the jersey of another team” because I thought it was an accurate summary of the feelings my subject expressed. To represent this visually I photographed a mannequin wearing androgynous clothing and a hat with a pin shaped like an eye. The bedazzled pin is the focal point, portraying the way society puts people who choose not to conform in the spotlight. This attention can lead to feeling restricted by societal standards and make it hard to stay true to oneself and identity.

Using Photoshop, I did minimal edits to the exposure and contrast, cropped the photo and then applied a black and white filter. To add color to my photo, I used the brush tool at a low opacity. I chose the colors purple and yellow because they are on the nonbinary flag. I created my text in Illustrator using the “type on a path” tool as well as envelope distort. After placing all of my text, I made a few adjustments to the size and color. To place my text into Photoshop, I exported the file as a png, opened it in Photoshop and dragged the layer into the document containing my photo.
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