“My friend told me he wanted to kill himself, I can’t imagine my life without him.”
Documenting a moment in history is one of the duties of a photographer. It’s finding those small pieces of life that slip through the crack and shining a light on topics like struggle, survival, victories, and even defeat. These photos capture human emotion while simultaneously telling a story.
For Ally Moore, a senior in Ohio State’s BFA photo program, documenting these moments in history and telling their stories aren’t found in a country abroad or in the heart of a new city; they are right at home with her sister in high school.
By documenting her sister, Ally worked to bring to light the rollercoaster ride that is the life of a teenager in modern day America. Sometimes the rollercoaster ride has it highs like sneaking off in your parent’s car without your driver’s license and not getting caught; other times it’s the lows like experimenting with pills or cigarettes to cope with emotional woes.
We had the chance to get to know Ally, as well as her photography, and what drove her towards this direction of photography.
So, Ally, what got you initially into photography?
It started back in high school, a friend of mine’s dad gave me camera. This was my first means of taking photos. My family then moved to California and I started taking a lot of the touristy kinda photos you see at first. I eventually started to use my eye a little more to take more documentary photos. When I came to OSU I began to come into more of the practice of art photography. I started out as an English major before hopping around and landing in the photo program.
What topics do you like to explore in your work?
A lot of my work looks at the social constructs of women. I’m interested in looking at the social constructs of desire, beauty, consumption, and examining the female form.
How did you begin the process of documenting the life of your younger sister?
I’ve had a strong connection with my sister. When our parents split up I took on a greater role in her life. I started to learn more about her and the underlying social pressures that existed throughout her life. I began to hear more about what it’s like to be 16 and deal with all the social pressure from friends and school, and I just thought it would be something interesting to look at and document.
What was it like to re-enter this teenage world after being in college?
It was weird…It was just weird to re-exist in this world I once did, and see what it’s all like now. I feel like I’m a completely different person now. It just seemed so easy to get caught up in my own past, the places I’ve been, the things I’ve seen and experienced. A lot of that is what art helps me with though, sort of figuring out who you are and what you came from. So coming back to it all was interesting.
Do you think anything changed in the nature of your relationship with your sister after doing this project?
Yeah, honestly, I feel like we became more open. She feels more comfortable with things she says, including the bad things, and kind of the raw things without worrying about me being judgmental about it.
So moving forward, where would you like to continue with this project? Where do you see it going?
I really want it to continue to speak to the reality of what’s going on. I think a lot more photos need to be taken, but it will still exist in this kind of book format. I may continue to play around with the formatting of it, how the text plays in as well. Mostly though, just more conversations are needed, and I just need to continue building it up.
Photos by Ally Moore.