Jocelyn Allen

Reality of Youth Going Backwards in Vain was made in response to a time when I could not think of anything other than existence. During this phase I wrote that ‘to me this ‘life’ is a somewhat vicious cycle of you’re born, you’re educated, you work, you maybe have children, perhaps get married (not necessarily these days), maybe retire and then you die… Everything else in between is killing time.’

Through self portraiture I have visualised each of these seven stages, having thought about clothing and locations through cliché portrayals, family style and personal taste. Moving through the stages sees a numerical and colour pattern emerge.


Søren Kierkegaard said that life begins and ends with the individual. During a phase where I could not think of anything other than the meaning of life, I thought that a person’s existence is generally made up of seven major stages. Reality of Youth Going Backwards in Vain visualises this concept and my own potential past, present and future by making myself the protagonist within the photographs. By following the colours of the rainbow and a numerical pattern, this signifies the importance of the number seven within this theory and my own personal connection with it. This project helped me to reflect and present visually the main thought that was going through my head. The titles of the work are taken from the six questioning words in the English language to provoke the viewer into questioning the work and life. However the last image has no word due to the fact that in death we can no longer question.


National Biennale: Derby 2010

Visual ArtsOliver WoodJ