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Escaping the Trap

Akhila Vemuri, Bay Area, CA


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Photography is a way I express myself. Like how one journals or writes poetry, my photography captures memories that have molded me into the person I am today. Below is a collection of my photographs, serving as visual aid, as I look reminisce on three years of high school.

Freshmen year: she started photography.The same friends modeled for her, resulting in all her photographs to seem repetitive: a girl against a wall or lockers, looking sad and alone. She enjoyed taking pictures like these during her early years of high school, because that was the aesthetic that appealed to her. She took these pictures because she was lonely, as if her friends were leaving her. At the beginning of freshman year, high school seemed to last forever, and from the moment she stepped through those daunting doors, she wanted it to end.

Sophomore year: came around in the blink of an eye. After being at the bottom of the food chain, she started reading in between the lines of people's expressions while they talked to her. The little things she read into built up. She found herself doing all she could to please others that surrounded her, ultimately sacrificing the people, activities, and things that she had previously loved. Trying satisfy everyone drove her insane. It drove her to the point where she quit the one thing that kept her grounded, because she could not handle the atmosphere: her high school basketball team. While she regrets not playing for those three months; it was during this time she realized how much she loved the sport, how she could not let others dictate her life.

Junior year: She is no longer the same girl she was two years ago. Even though she is alone, she is not lonely. She has fallen down, but she has gotten back up. She is stronger. She is wiser. She has the strength and the courage to stand up for herself. High school exposes you to many different kinds and groups of people. This was the year she found that one friend who loved her unconditionally, through thick and thin. Wanting to be more than just a face in the yearbook, the desire for a larger, solidified friend group pushed her to conflict with her peers. Whispers surrounded her. She fell into a depressive state, losing all interest to go school. She found herself venturing back to her original friend, who had continued to love her unconditionally, realizing that one friend’s love was enough. It was junior year she found her inner strength and confidence to dust herself off, to run after all opportunities and chase her dreams.

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