My Biggest Fear Is... / by Amanda Liew

For my next project, I chose to do it around the theme of "My Biggest Fear." I was partially inspired by Gillian Wearing who would approach strangers and ask them to write "confessional" things on pieces of paper and hold them up for a photograph. At the same time, at church we've done an exercise to write out my worries on a piece of paper and destroy it. It's cathartic in many ways and allows you to let go of your worries and give them to God. Based off of these two inspirations, I decided I wanted to take things a little closer than strangers and photograph close friends and their biggest fears. I asked a group of my friends to think about what their biggest fear was and how they wanted to destroy the piece of paper or representation of it.

The responses really ranged across the board. Tyler's tangible fear was the most tangible one: tomatoes. And of course, we felt the most appropriate way to destroy it was to smash it to oblivion! It was beyond awesome. Note: You can click on the images to make them larger.

2 - Tyler - for blog

Other fears were much more abstract such as Janet's fear of "not being able to say goodbye." Rather than to destroy her fear, she chose to be photographed walking away from it and leaving it behind.

3 - Janet - for blog

Ankit's fear was himself. We struggled for a while to brainstorm with how exactly he would overcome that fear because destruction ย (of himself) would actually be giving into his fear if anything. Finally, he settled on the idea of blacking out the rest of the paper except for the words "myself."

5 - Ankit - for blog

What was also really interesting was finding "pairings" in fears. Matt's fear was of anarchy which actually did fit him perfectly if you know him. He chose to "destroy" it by folding it up neatly and recycling it. On the other hand, Sumeet's fear was of conformity and he chose to stab it with a knife. A technical difficulty was collaging images together - still working on that!

6 - Matt and Sameet - for blog

I also decided to make full collages of all the fears and all the destructions as well. I've also been learning some more techniques in Photoshop like how to make the background black & white so only the person is in color. I chose to use this technique to symbolize the individuality of each person. At the same time, however, while all of my friendsย are individuals, when collaged together like below, they represent the grander scheme of things: fears that we all share as a collective society.

1 - Signs - for Blog4 - Destruction - for blog

Note: Blacked out images are due to privacy requests. Huge apologies to my wonderful friend Krystal who also took part in the shoot. I somehow forgot to take the photo of her holding her fear straight on.