this photographer spent a month in bathrooms making her friends cry
Foto: Tasha Tylee
Watching someone you love cry is always painful, so spare a thought for photographer Tasha Tylee. She's spent several weeks bringing her friends to tears in her new series Cry Baby. She embarked on this emotional exercise for the upcoming group show The Break Up Party. Each artist was assigned their own room in a house, and asked to create work around it.
Tasha got the bathroom, and it didn't take her long to make the connection to crying in the shower. Soon enough she became somewhat of an expert in making people tear up. We spoke to Tasha about her sweet and sad attempt to display invisible heartache.
I feel like I should start by asking, are you a big crier?
Growing up crying was always something I tried to hold back. But as I got older and went through things like losing my mom, I came to realize it's actually very therapeutic to just let it out. So this series is a bit of a representation of myself, as well as me trying to help others by having little cry-therapy sessions. I really did get to know some of my friends more through this, crying together forms a unique bond.
So those were real tears? No one was faking?
They were pretty much real, there were a few people that weren't comfortable with it, but I would start them off slow by getting them to cut onions. Obviously it can be intimidating to cry on the spot, so I'd do that and then ask if there were any sad song that brought up memories. It was actually pretty strange once they started crying properly, because usually when someone cries you want to comfort them but I had to keep taking photos.
After talking to so many people about what makes them cry, were there things you noticed came up again and again?
A lot of them were to do with break-ups and boyfriends and girlfriends saying horrible things, just nasty comments that stick with you.
I saw some of those comments are on the images. Was trying to make people breakdown draining, or did you get desensitized to it?
No I didn't get used to it, although the first few times were more emotional. When I saw people I loved crying I definitely shed a few tears behind the camera. Everyone was like, "you're pulling such sad faces" and I was like, "I can't help it you're making me sad as well!"
How did you choose who you wanted to feature?
Some were friends, some were love interests, previous lovers, or just people I had a really close connection with. I still don't feel like I have finished the project, so after this I will probably expand it even further. There are still so many people I want to shoot; everyone has such an interesting face. I'm lucky to have such interesting friends.
So you started with onions, how did you finish a shoot? After bringing someone to that point you probably feel like you need to spend some time with them decomposing.
Yeah I did have a cup of tea with some of them or watched a movie and hung out. I made sure they were okay and gave them a cuddle. It was kind of bizarre how you become closer to someone after going through that. But there were some days where I was shooting multiple people so I would have to just give them a hug and then send them on their way.
How was the mood after a shoot?
A lot of people felt better after, but some were quite sad.
After all of this, do you feel like an expert on sadness now?
Not really, it's just nice to know everyone is going through the same thing. Everyone pretends they're tough but there is always something going on down there. Everyone has words and instances in life that have affected them. Everyone has sadness in common, crying shows the similarities between us.
Text Wendy Syfret
Photography Tasha Tylee