Jarrett Azar


Ever since I first picked up a camera, I have found the act of photography to be a deeply therapeutic experience. Photography helps me process and communicate my emotions in ways that I always found to be otherwise difficult. This feeling of therapy through art is the basis behind most of my work. This project has evolved throughout my senior year, and has grown and changed with me. I began in the fall by focusing on session-based photography. The main subjects of this work being three buildings that meant something to me on campus. In the spring, I transitioned this to a more general exploration of my emotions because I felt as though I had adequately processed the feelings I had been questioning about those places. I began to take walks with no specific destination when feeling down to release whatever negative emotion I was feeling at the time. I wanted to document this process and to create from it because while negative emotions can be some of the hardest to deal with, they are deeply inspirational for me. I believe this is because, for me, it is very hard to artistically comment on emotions I am not feeling in that exact moment. My work became a more general communication of my feelings of anxiety, loneliness, and sadness. I did not get very deep into this new idea before we were sent home from campus due to COVID-19.

After being sent home, I continued to work within the same idea of examining, processing, and communicating my negative emotions. Because there aren’t any interesting lighting situations or structures in my neighborhood at night, I had to limit my creation to the confines of my home. As I could no longer create under normal circumstances when feeling these negative emotions, I worked to capture the ghostly and suffocating feeling of the quarantine. I felt like I had to insert myself into the work that I was creating at home. I chose to do this despite my disdain for pictures of myself because I felt like a dark and empty home could not alone communicate what I was feeling. With the coronavirus situation looming over all of us, I opted to go for a ghostly feeling figure, attempting to speak to something that feels unreal.

Throughout this project, and even throughout the past few years, I have taken large inspiration from Patrick Joust. He is a Baltimore based photographer who works in film photography. His work is able to capture an atmosphere and a color range at night that I have yet to find in other photographers. He captures the empty, oddly-lit night that I often strive to capture in my own work. An artist that captures a similar atmosphere is Henri Prestes. His work in the porteguese countryside captures very moody and dark landscapes. Much like Joust, Prestes captures a similar aesthetic to the one that I often find to be most inspiring. They both employ bright colors to contrast dark settings much like my own work. I feel a sense of loneliness and despondence in their work that I hope I am able to communicate to you, the viewer, with my own work.