Dressed up with nowhere to go

Victoria Kovarik
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Who would have thought that returning to somewhat of a normalcy at Duke after going through a global pandemic would be hard. I certainly didn’t, but this semester has proved that even the textbook definition of “normal” at college is somehow riddled by its own challenges and dilemmas.

Though seeing friends maskless and in larger groups has been so exciting and a breath of fresh air, with it comes an overarching sense of exclusivity as well as a fear of missing out, better known as FOMO. Thus, the theme for this shoot encapsulates a personal reflection of that feeling: “Dressed Up With Nowhere To Go.” 

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Rounding up some of my closest friends, I tasked them with two simple things. 

  1. Wear something you’d go to a party in. This was clearly subject to interpretation. Someone wore a sparkly dress from Rumors. Another wore their prom dress. Even jeans were tossed into the mix.

  2. Look somber. Easier said than done, actually. It’s hard to look sad without actually feeling it. Through bursts of laughter between takes, however, feigned sadness was achieved. And it worked.

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Having my friends act as a sort of lens into how I’ve felt on those Friday nights where I had to stay in and do work was comforting. What I realized was that I am not alone in that feeling of missing out. Even the happiest, most outgoing person feels that exclusivity from time to time. This photo series allowed me to lean into that discomfort and create art from those emotions in their purest and rawest forms. 

Ultimately, take what you will from these photos. Art is subject to personal experience, after all. And feel what you feel. College is difficult, and the culture at Duke is no exception, so remember to take time for yourself and to find happiness within solitude. 

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