This essay originally appeared in the Privacy & Perception Issue of Vice Magazine, created in collaboration with Broadly. You can read more stories from the issue here.
Twenty-three-year-old photographer Rochelle Brock says that self-acceptance comes in many forms: “the way we love, the way we are vocal, the way we are intimate with ourselves and others—that plays a huge part in our identity, especially in this internet age.” And with her latest project, a portion of which is featured here, Brock wanted to capture what the different stages of self-acceptance looks like through those closest to her—and, in doing so, see what she could learn about herself (her mental health, her sexuality, and her body).
Brock’s series is a collection of candid Polaroids she snapped of her friends—taken, she says, “in their homes and where they are most comfortable.” Some she photographed are couples, navigating new and complicated roommate situations; some, on the other hand, haven’t even taken the first steps to settling down, though they’ve slowly realized what it means to be kinder to themselves, and more vocal about their wants and needs. In one image, a man and woman lay together, her head on top of his; in another, a woman sits on a plastic chair, naked, alone in a white-walled, barren room.
“It can be hard to understand who we are as people sometimes,” she says, “but we have to remember to constantly work on ourselves, online and off. That manifests in different ways and in different aspects of our lives—and the journey looks different for everyone.”
Brock believes that there are many similarities between a strong online presence and living with a partner. For her, they’re both difficult situations to find privacy, and they can be draining. This idea, she insists, is what most informs her work here.
“As someone who has never been in a relationship, and who isn’t as open and vocal online,” she says, “I wanted to capture that—in my own way, candidly.”