Une coiffure déjantée, une vieille salopette excentrique et des boutons pleins le visage : c’était peut être vous il y a une quinzaine d’années. Dans ce cas, vous auriez mérité de participer à l’exposition de Merilee Allred’s, cette artiste-designer qui s’est donnée pour objectif d’exploiter la force du temps qui passe sur notre présentation physique et sociale. Autrement dit, ces photos que l’on possède tous quelque part et qui nous renvoient une image de nous qu’on a pas forcément envie de faire resurgir, là, maintenant, tout de suite. Ce qui touche précisément dans ce travail, c’est de voir comment le poids des années a pu sauver certains d’entre nous. La vieillesse a ses charmes dirons-nous, la preuve en photo.

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    Meet my friend Joe! We used to work together but we both have since gone on to other job opportunities. I appreciate his willingness to help me with my project! Thanks @poejeterson! ? "Going into my sophomore year of high school I was 4'11'', 125 lbs and I had a year left on my braces. I was the shortest male I knew and there weren't a lot females shorter than me. It was tough. I wasn't happy with physical appearance and it had its challenges. I lacked confidence around new people and I found myself hating who I was. Despite my awkwardness, I have fond memories of this school year. I had a family that loved me and some really great friends. Thinking back, I know I was incredibly awkward but, at the time, I thought the puka shells were cool and my friends and family went along with it. Despite my best efforts, I'm grateful I've had friends and family that were capable (and still are) of looking passed my awkwardness."

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    I know Brooke through roller derby. Her derby name is "Wicked Intent". She was more than willing to pose with her fantastic picture and I appreciate her willingness, love, and support with all of this. Here's her story: "The summer between 2nd and 3rd grade my family moved to New Canaan, Connecticut. I had really thick hair and my Mom couldn't get it to stay curled so she decided to perm it. It was a very tight perm and I ended up with hair shaped like a triangle. New school plus the hair made me an easy target for bullies. We moved twice in the next two years and I started a new school in 5th grade. I am a very tall girl and always have been and I was a bit overweight starting my new school, this did not make for a good combination. I had kids line the sidewalk and pretend an earthquake was happening as I walked by. Junior High was pretty bad as well, I had a few kids that started bullying me and they would start mooing at me as I walked from class to class. By the end of 8th grade the entire hallway would join in I ended up switching schools for 9th grade because it had gotten so bad. I never told my parents and chose to suffer in silence making up other reasons for switching schools. Somewhere around my sophomore year I was finished with being bullied. I had a few friends at this point and decided to pretend it didn't bother me. 'Fake it till you make it' became my new way of living. One day I realized I was no longer faking it. I truly didn't care what mean people thought. Now 25 years after my first bullying experience I am confident in who I am and if you don't like me I don't care. I care deeply for those that care about me and while I still struggle with weight I am happy with the person I have become. I have a sign in my kitchen that says 'Fake It Till You Make It' as a reminder of how far I've come."

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    I got to know Deena through our mutual friend, Daisy. The more I got to know her, the more I adore her. And the more you get to talk to her, the more fun things you learn about her. Did you know she got to interview the last six American Idol contestants last season (2012-2013) for the Ford Fiesta Movement? She's full of life and a smile that lasts for days. Here's her story: "My awkward years were from fourth grade through the middle of eighth. I remember feeling pretty sad through the first half my eight grade year. What a hard age! You're struggling to find out who you are, what makes you feel comfortable, what your identity is and going to be. I had a sense of not feeling like myself, but not knowing who that self was yet. I had braces, I was just learning to do my makeup and while I loved makeup clothes and fashion, I kept getting it wrong. The wrong styles, the wrong fits, trends I should have just steered clear from. But if everyone was doing it, I told myself I had to, too. I didn't think I had another option. I wanted to feel good in my skin, and I wanted to stand out but I didn't know how. That spring my braces came off, I suddenly started looking more like a teenager and not so much a preteen and that's when things really started to change. Not only physically but I started to find myself as well. It had a lot to do with finding the right circle of friends, activities I was enjoying outside of school as well, discovering what I found fun, and how I liked to dress. I soon discovered my own personal style and path was not like anyone else. I definitely marched to the beat of my own drummer in my wardrobe, with my friends, in school. Getting the first taste of embracing who I truly was at the core came the next year in ninth grade. What a difference a year makes! And I began to learn that tuning in to who I was, finding where I was comfortable and felt most like myself made me confident. And in feeling confident, I felt attractive. That became far more important than trying to fit into the wrong molds. (SEE THE REST OF HER STORY BELOW) ???

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    This is my beautiful friend Autumn. I met her through our mutual friend, Daisy, whom I posted about previously. I can really relate to Autumn's story. She was teased & bullied as a youth like I was, so I felt an instant connection with her. I commend Autumn so much for being brave and sharing her story: "I currently work as the communications manager for the Utah chapter of Make-a-Wish. I am also a former arts and entertainment writer. I have interviewed various celebrities from actors to musicians, continue to report on the red carpet at the Sundance Film Festival and have been involved in many different forms of media. I have had the opportunity to model on behalf of curvy women everywhere and have tried everything from skydiving to MMA. I am also a freelance writer for the Salt Lake Tribune. "Throughout the course of my life, leading up to this photo, I had worn leg braces, had my fourth grade teacher lead the school line down the hall walking pigeon toed to make fun of me, had worn an eye patch in elementary school and braces and a headgear. As you can see in the picture, I was also chubby. My sense of fashion was pretty much nonexistent and it was hard for me to feel secure around my peers. Largely because I was relentlessly teased for all of my imperfections by not only my peers but by my teacher too. At the time this photo was taken, I was 13-years old. Shortly after this photo was taken, my school discovered during a routine screening that I had scoliosis. It was so severe that I had to wear a back brace all four years of high school. Luckily for me, the scoliosis was caught before I hit my growth spurt. In the years to follow this picture, I grew 7 inches taller, I lost weight, I got a job to pay for my own contacts, and overhearing the comments made about my clothing by my schoolmates inspired me to change the way I dressed. I had great friends in high school, but my awkwardness of my younger years was never forgotten by my more popular peers. Looking at this picture brings up many emotions. A lot of sadness over the way I was treated and what I went through. But also pride, because I bore it all and the outcome isn't so bad." #awkwardyearsphoto

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    This is my derby wife, Daisy, aka “Babe Rainbow”. In roller derby, a derby wife is someone who you are closest with and pushes you the hardest on the track and always there for you off the track. She’s your fiercest competitor and biggest fan. There’s so much I can say about this beautiful & tough British cookie, but I am going to let her share with you about who she is and what made her awkward as a youth: “I have a BA in Theatre and Film Studies from Bristol University in England, I am also a trained journalist. I worked for a morning daily newspaper in Bath for two years, then moved to Salt Lake, acted professionally for a few years, and joined the team at IN This Week, an entertainment niche product of the Salt Lake Tribune, as their arts and theatre writer. Now I work as a freelance arts writer for the Trib. and in the Art Lab at the Leo, and I do some marketing for them too. I played roller derby for a little more than two years. Most importantly, I’ve been married for two years in September to the most wonderful chap in the world and I feel so loved by him, my family, my derby family and my friends that I also love and value myself. “This picture was taken when I was around eight or nine. The background to it is that we lived in a big, old farmhouse, it was snowing and our water pipes froze for ten days. So me and my sister and three stepsisters had to bathe in a meat pan. Someone thought it would be funny to put a massive tea cosy shaped like a house on my head. “The reason I later felt awkward at this age was that I was making my first school transition; until I was nine I went to a school my Mum started; it was very small and we were all like brothers and sisters. When I went to a conventional school it was the first time I felt the difference between the way I grew up and ‘normal’ kids grew up and many things I thought were great about being ‘different’ became embarrassing. As I got older I started to reclaim those ‘different’ things as a source of great pride.” #awkwardyearsphoto

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    I'm starting a new project here on Instagram, called #awkwardyearsphoto. I'm nowhere near an experienced photographer but I would like to be better. I want to challenge myself by learning how to take good portraits of people with a fun twist. What's a better subject than to get a collection of people sharing their most awkward years and see how great of a person they blossomed into? I want to feature my friends, family, acquaintances, and anyone else in close proximity, so hopefully I will have enough willing participants! Please bear with my amateur self as I learn how to capture people at their best. So, to start things off, I'll begin with a hesitant subject, and don't laugh too hard: me! I was so embarrassed by my younger years because I was so gangly and awkward. Even now, I have a hard time even showing people what I used to look like because back then, I was teased & bullied mercilessly by my appearance. But I figured if I can share that part of my past next to the person that I turned out to be, I can embrace my little nerdy self and feel okay about it! So, to all of you who had those awkward phases, especially this clueless 5th grader, this project is for you!

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"Il faut bien que vieillesse se passe" disait Camus. Pas d'accord ?

Source : My modernmet