The following is a photo essay created by AFH teen photographer, Mattaya Fitts, for the Adobe Youth Voices Project. Mattaya's piece premiered at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) Boston on May 27, 2010.
"My piece revolves around race and it’s influence on self- perception. Growing up is difficult for everybody. You go through mental and physical changes, you determine what you like, don’t like, and who you associate yourself with. Factors such as race, culture, location, and more all influence these changes. It can be difficult, though, when you can’t just fit into one frame of society.
My mother is Asian and my father is African-American. Growing up biracial was difficult for me because I saw myself as one way but society saw me as another. As these views conflicted, I lost myself in a pool of self- hatred and frustration. Getting out of it wasn’t easy and it would take me a long time to become comfortable with myself but I did it.
I’m sharing my story because I feel that it is important for people to realize that they don’t have to stick to a common mold. You can be whoever you want to be. I’m hoping that people can relate to my story, gain a new perspective, or even just enjoy the pictures. Adobe Youth Voices has given me an outlet to express myself. Through creating this photo essay, I’ve learned how to talk about myself, which used to be quite difficult for me."