Concentration: Photography

Title of Project: Skin

Inspiration Behind the Project:

My inspiration came from my childhood. The children and staff at FUN after school programs contributed tremendously.

In films where the narrative involves the point of view of a young child who is uncertain of his/her place in the world, or who feels ambivalent in terms of gender and experienced sexuality, the use of the forest as setting and location creates a space for its implied ambiguity. The forest is the “in-between” space of physicality, metaphor, philosophy and emotion. Through the brief history of cinema and discussion of the common uses of the forest and its aspects in classic films to contemporary films with child protagonists, this essay explores how films about young queer characters are visually represented on screen, and how some of the films create the world of a child’s sense of ambiguity.

This aesthetic of creating a vivid sense of being is particularly evident in recent films such as Tomboy (2011), directed by Celine Sciamma. This essay analyzes the popular metaphorical use of forest and woods in movies that typically represent a separate space away from home or society where anything can happen. The essay then compares this quintessential metaphor to Tomboy’s choice of aesthetic and identifies how the film’s main character, Laure, as a queer child, is depicted, thus showing that forest can be an alternative space where a queer child’s ambiguous condition can be embraced.