Passing Notes

Charlotte Lai

A photograph of a towel hung on a hook next to a shower in a bathroom, warm toned from the sunset at dusk. The image is placed over handwritten text in the top left and bottom right corners, covering most of it. The visible text reads "It's not like I thought it would never happen, I just didn't think it was for me the same way it was for other people... I used to hate change. Turns out it can be good too" in all capital letters.

My series Passing Notes is a deeply personal exploration of the emotions that have come hand in hand with the start of a new relationship. I’ve created this project during the process of delicately navigating all of these intricate feelings while I grow both independently and within my relationship. Through the use of saturated and warm toned digital and analog images, handwritten notes, as well as polaroids, Passing Notes takes all of my intrapersonal thoughts and puts them into a scrapbook, documenting this transformative period of my life.

Images of banal scenes around the home paired with the scribbles from my diary create a solitary but comforting type of bubble; a space that is safe and yet still incredibly tender and vulnerable. There are no people included in the digital images, only showing the warmth of being home during the hours of dusk when every surface starts to glow. Polaroids show the significance of fleeting moments, capturing the small and seemingly insignificant details of life to remember the beauty of them before they’re lost to time. The analog photos of my partner never reveal his face, only his silent but constant presence within the series; the combination of the two types of images creates the comforting and nostalgic atmosphere in which my reflections and thoughts on being someone’s partner thrive.

Ultimately, Passing Notes serves as a reminder that there’s time to look at the little details of life, learning to love the process of growth and seeing the beauty in change that you might not have seen before. These emotions are new to me. Scary and exhilarating at times, but most of all human; any and all feelings in a relationship should be embraced, and encouraged to be felt.