Photo: © Mei Seva
1. What’s your favorite drink?
Probably an iced latte on a hot summer day. In winter, a nice cup of tea does wonders for the soul. Mint juleps also hit the spot, but that’s a rare treat.
2. Who are you?
3. Let's travel back in time... How did you get started with photography?
4. Tell about your project/photo essay?
My memories of leaving Albania when I was six years old are sparse. What I most strongly remember comes from a photo that was taken the day I left, and the accompanying story. In the photo, my grandpa is wearing sunglasses that hide his red eyes, red from too much crying. The other memory of that day is faint. All I dimly remember is looking up, right outside the airport in New York City, and being overwhelmed by the size and speed of everything, feelings of being lost, somewhere unfamiliar.
Cognitive Dissonance is a photography project about my experiences growing up in New York City and Albania. It explores themes of identity, belonging, migration, and inequality. It seeks to illustrate how much luck plays a role in where we end up, the opportunities we are given, as well as the vast inequalities that exist in this world. The images are accompanied by text that are anecdotes, analyses, and personal stories that complete the story for the viewer. You can view all of the images with the accompanying text on my website: www.meiseva.com/cognitive-dissonance
“Once you’ve been a stranger, a foreigner, you always carry this somewhere inside. It never goes away. One is irreversibly a stranger. One never returns to the nest, to one’s Going home: migration as enactment and symbol 477 home, one’s homeland. Nor to the illusion of completeness. That is lost forever. What remains is a rupture between the individual and his links, and there is always, forever, something lacking.” (Caro Hollander 1998, p. 201)