I Wish I Still Felt Young

Essay 366 • Jan 31st 2019

For some time now, I’ve felt stuck the middle of two formative periods of my life: my youth and my adulthood. These last couple of years - especially more recently - have largely been about discovering myself, exploring the possibilities of independence and freedom, and personal growth, while also attempting to salvage as much of my youth and childhood as possible. The experience, oftentimes, has left me lost, overwhelmed, and uncomfortable. I yearn for the simplicity of my youth, but also desire a newfound path into adulthood.

"I Wish I Still Felt Young" is about grappling with the discomfort and unpredictability that comes with the "in-between" stage, particularly for young women. I photographed Danielle amidst both the duality and the dysfunction of growing into womanhood, and her overpowering fleeting youth.


Zayira Ray is an 18-year-old self-taught photographer based in New York City. Her work focuses on fashion and portrait photography with an objective to tell stories through photographs, seeking to push boundaries of the imagination, femininity, and beauty. Zayira has published several editorials and has been awarded for her photography at Scholastic, PDN, YoungArts, and the Dedalus Foundation.

Model: Danielle Mareka