For most of my life, I have been adamant about being independent. Since I was old enough to walk, I refused to hold my parent’s hands at the crosswalk. I cringed at every comparison made between my mother and I – our similar facial structures or dark hair. I was so determined to form my own identity that we butt heads a lot throughout my teenage years. I felt disconnected from her, leading me to conceal my true self from her and allowing only pieces to be revealed. Yet, with time, I’ve noticed subtle mannerisms and gestures that echo my mother’s. I’m slowly discovering fragments of her in myself, despite my resistance throughout my childhood and teenage years. She appears in little actions; the way my style in clothing is similar to hers when she was my age, or the way we care for others as if they are our own family. Despite my resistance, they serve as poignant reminders of our shared connection. I am confronted with the idea that even though I am my own person, my identity is forever linked to hers, and like DNA, woven into the fabric of who I am. 

As I evolve and grow as a young woman, I often feel lost in my identity., That I have to “perform” – as a daughter, sister, or granddaughter, each role with its own responsibilities and expectations. That I have to serve as a source of support and act appropriately to conform to a social expectation, often at the cost of my desires and opinions. The pressure of forging my own identity while clinging to the expectations of familial roles has pulled me in opposing directions; torn between duty and desire. 

I do not think there is an end to truly “finding yourself”. Through Dear, I am opening up dialogue between myself and the viewer as I navigate the complexities of self-discovery and the echoes of lineage.

Abby Barrett


Abby Barrett is an emerging fashion and portrait photographer based in Toronto. She is completing a Bachelor in Fine Arts at Toronto Metropolitan University, specializing in Photographic studies. Her work often explores themes of identity, memory and the human form through natural environments and intimate spaces. She enjoys seamlessly intertwining studio portraits with immersive fieldwork to capture timeless portraits and the unique beauty of individuals. 

Having grown up in Stirling, Ontario, a small rural town, Abby brings a special authenticity to her work, infusing her images with genuine warmth and relatability. Her creative prowess, honed through years of exploration and experimentation, enables her to craft a visual ambience beyond the ordinary, resonating with individuality and self-expression.