To My Youth: The Weight of Informed Naïvety (2016)

Matthew Elliott Allen in collaboration with Liz Fang

Models: Kelsey Cichorz, Lauren Miller, Rae Ann, Lauren Roth, Joe DeLuca Makeup: Brittany Bakoptcho

To My Youth: The Weight of Informed Naïvety is a conceptual photography piece that represents an individual's understanding of their own naivety through five photos representing naïvety in youth, emerging self-awareness in young adulthood, the weight of knowledge, acceptance of self, and transcendence. The phases may not necessarily have a direct correlation with age, but rather self-awareness.



Phase One: Youth (2016)

An individual in a "youth phase" can be reflective upon an individual's pure naïvety, not knowing they're even naïve to a new feeling within post-modern to modern oscillation. They have no experience yet to proceed to a new state. They are innocent and free from burden, but yet uncomfortable with their lack of self-understanding.


Phase Three: The Weight of Knowledge (2016)

The weight of knowledge affects an individual when they are fully aware that they are naïve and impacts an individual in a negative way. Age is inevitable. Birthdays are no longer enjoyable in this phase. This individual understand that they aren’t as youthful as they once were - no longer invincible. The individual now knows they're naïve and misery settles due to knowledge. They are aware of themselves and they feel they are no longer innocent nor youthful as they were.


Phase Five: Transcendance (2016)

A transcended individual is someone who’s completely aware of their emotional state and how it affects their thought processes. They understand that they are no longer as naïve an individual in their youth, no longer simply a self-aware individual, no longer in turmoil under the weight of knowledge, nor an individual in recovery. No longer naïve like the modernist masses, nor as cynical as the post-modernist avant-gardes, but one who well aware of their new duality between sincerity and irony, it’s fluctuation, and its search for new forms of sincerity.


Phase Two: Emergence (2016)

An individual in an emerging self-awareness phase feels different but doesn't understand their naïvety yet. They are still naïve but are awakening and becoming self-aware. They are no longer innocent but still naïve. An emerging self-aware individual begins to understand their emotional states, but cannot control them nor understand them.


Phase Four: Recover (2016)

The individual represented in a recovery phase is in tune with their naïvety and are beginning to transcend from the weight of knowledge. They are beginning to accept who they are and their limitations. A reawakening is occurring within, a self-awareness that’s an oscillation between emotional and logical. An individual in this phase begins to accept their fragility, beginning to transcend from the misery that comes with the weight of knowledge.