My name is Christiana Nelson. I was born and raised in Cape Coral, FL and moved to New York to study at New York University. I’m currently a junior in NYU Tisch’s Photography and Imaging program.
When I started photography in high school, I was drawn to the idea of self exploration and identity. I lived in a small, predominantly white town and had trouble trying to figure out who I was. The themes of self exploration and identity gave me the opportunity to rediscover who I was as a black woman outside of a white space. My desire is to better understand myself and how I interacted with my environment in the past and now going forward.
Now that I live in New York, I feel a sense of freedom. I can confidently say that I am proud to be a black woman and I’m excited to unravel more complexities about myself that I haven’t before. My current work takes a more contemporary, conceptual approach and explores significant events in my life, as well as questions societal constructs, race, religion, and the relationships we have with ourselves and others. A majority of my work also focuses on portraying the beauty, strength, vulnerability, and complexity of people of color, and what it means to be a black woman.
Taking Professor Snow Yunxue Fu’s class made me realize that I didn't have to portray these themes as a flat photograph. I had the ability to utilize a 3D space with endless possibilities to illustrate my thoughts and emotions. A new theme that I have started showing in my recent work involves illustrating my fluctuating mental health and how I’ve been living with it. My piece, Instability, depicts a visual representation of what mental instability feels like for me. To me, chairs represent comfort, support, and stability. They’re reliable and strong enough to keep us balanced. Placing them in a 3D, animated ocean shows a sense of “instability”, where our comfort and support are floating away in a vast sea with no control or escape. It signifies my anxiety and how even though I could be in a good place mentally, it’s always in the back of my mind, drowning me.
Website (in progress)