In my project Burdens of a White Dress, I use self-portraits to explore leaving an identity, a culture, a language and a family behind. I was born into the Unification Church, commonly remembered as the Moonies cult. After being forced to marry a stranger, I fought my way out.
This project explores religious conviction as it crumbles into a failure of faith, and the loss of identity that results. The photos depict my questioning the norms with which I was raised; each image stands as a mile marker in the stages of self-discovery, cognitive dissonance, shame and grief. I imagine the camera as a viewer, an omniscient witness to my inner moments of turmoil. By casting the viewer as witness my aim is to provoke empathy and conversation about seeking an identity outside of societal constructs.