The Photographic Journal


Essay 407 • Sep 19th 2019

I started this series (before I even knew what it meant) three summers ago, the one before my junior year of high school, a bunch of lifetimes ago. I wanted to take photos that could describe what it felt like to be sixteen and seventeen, bored and wildly impatient, waiting for my life to start and for something fucking significant and painful and complex and electric to happen.

I was beginning to discover my own babbling femininity and my uncontrollable urge to communicate it, this ball of fiery energy burning inside me, pure ambition and drive, my carefully-placed anger, as loudly as I could. I took photos of my friends, strangers, things- some composed and some organic, anything that felt reflective of the girlhood I was experiencing. The intense connections between women, the rage we share, the togetherness we feel. I turn twenty in five months and ‘girlhood’ means something entirely different to me now than it did when I started, because it’s true that things can only be understood backwards. This is a selection of the photos from 2018-2019.


Gabrielle Barrera is a nineteen year-old visual artist living and working in Ohio, where she attends the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning at the University of Cincinnati.
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