By Lauren Cichon
This project is inspired by the idea of a “safe space” in a time of rebellion and unease. It features 16- and 17-year-old subjects Kamilla, Malcolm, Roan, and me. This series, centered around the idea of the teen bedroom, delves into teens’ ability to connect their freedoms and identity to their space. To create this piece about the human experience of life in-between, I’ve photographed and interviewed each participant. The young people in this project share what makes them feel at peace and comfortable in their ever-changing environments.
This idea came from spending time with my friends in their spaces. This project took a lot of time and focus. I photographed each of the participants using my camera, including my self-portrait, and I used my phone to record and edit audio. I was challenged by the audio component but was relieved when the project was in its final stage, although I do feel like it has the potential to be ongoing.
Meet the Pair
Mentee Lauren Cichon & Mentor Kara Stiles
Lauren’s Anecdote: Kara and I tend to meet on Sunday afternoons for coffee or pie in Brooklyn. These outings have started becoming a comfort to me throughout the chaos that has been seventeen. Although our lives are so different, I’m so grateful to have a constant in an ever-changing world. This is us, marking our moment in history. However different our moments may be, we come together and share them through our art.
Kara’s Anecdote: What I adore most about Lauren as a developing writer is that she’s so many other things, too. Like the women in history we revere, her varied and dynamic strengths inspire and anchor her art. She’s an activist, a photographer, a documenter of city streets and subway characters, a curious listener, a skilled people-watcher, and more. Her many crafts are reflected in storytelling that’s complex, honest, and in touch with the world around her. Separately, I’ll add one of my most cherished moments as Lauren’s mentor: When we realized we share the same Myers-Briggs score. Good work pairing us, Girls Write Now!
Lauren Cichon is a senior at a high school in Manhattan, NY. She lives in Brooklyn and joined the Girls Write Now community in her sophomore year due to her passion for writing and desire for a more supportive and empowering environment for youth like her. Lauren often finds herself staring into space and making observations about the people around her, whether on the subway or in school. She imagines and creates their stories in one of the several notebooks that she uses to jot down what she notices. She often turns these observations into short stories, doodles or poetry.