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Me, Myself and Eye


Me, Myself and Eye Home   //  Leslie Elsasser - Introduction   //  Selina Roman - Mind Currents   //  Michael Ball   //  TC Bryant   //  Larry Busby   //  David Canaday   //  Michael Congdon   //  Brandie Dziegiel   //  Loretta Fields   //  Jeaniel Image   //  Douglas Eric Jordan   //  Valerie Larson   //  John Leduc   //  Jason Lind   //  Mikko Maki   //  Alex Martinez   //  Matias   //  Noemys McConnell   //  Megan O’Connell   //  Robert Ortega   //  Adaina Plaza   //  Pat Randall   //  Heather Rivera   //  RaeAnne Swanson   //  Michael Webb


Valerie Larson, Mirrored Love, 2020

Valerie Larson, Mirrored Love, 2020


Mirrored Love 

My husband and I tend to be ships in the night due to our jobs. I leave him messages of love on his mirror when I do not see him for a couple of days. When the class assignment, elements of concealment, was assigned, I thought this would be a perfect example. If I could leave a ghostly image of myself with the lipstick message, I could show my husband I am always with him. 

I found out about the Breaking Barriers through my job at the VA. I have always been interested in photography but took the typical sunsets, family or selfie photos. I thought this might be the perfect way to explore ways to break out of my photography box and learn not only creative techniques but technical techniques as well. 

I was incredibly surprised to see the class was cellphone photography. However, I soon realized just how challenging using a cellphone to take professional level photos was going to be. I was very timid in my photos at the beginning of the class, not pushing any of the limits. I was certainly uncomfortable sharing them with the class. As the class progressed, I gained confidence in myself, seeing I could indeed capture images that could make people laugh, smile, or wonder how in the world did she get that to work. 

I think Mirrored Love is an image that makes people pause to look at all the aspects of the photo and maybe find new details each time they look. I had great difficulty setting the image up. My bathroom had 4 mirrors reflecting into each other. I also had to deal with the shower glass reflecting in the mirrors. Thankfully, I had beautiful afternoon sunlight streaming in to light my photograph, so that was one less worry to deal with. My biggest concern was how to take the photo without getting the cellphone in the image. After about a dozen test photos, I finally arranged the cellphone in the hall where it wouldn’t be seen. The objects on my husband’s sink truly represent who he is: brush his teeth, shave, a little cologne, and out the door. The most important part of the image is the message I always leave for my husband telling him I love him. I also decided to try a new technique and use a slow shutter speed. I was able to leave a ghostly image of myself in the photograph. 

I feel I grew both as a person and a photographer by taking the Breaking Barriers workshop. The class made me step out of my comfort zone. Through class assignments, I came to look at ordinary objects in different ways, be they different angles, lights, or colors. The photos I took at the beginning of the class were my typical photos, from a bridge with its reflection, to a silhouette. Typical and boring. By the end of the class, I am using slow shutter speeds and working with reflections. I am working with editing photos to make sure I have the image just the way I want it to look. I have gained confidence in my photography skills. But more importantly, I have gained confidence in myself. I have seen that I can accomplish whatever it is I want. All through a cellphone photography class. 



Valerie Larson, Coffee Anyone?, 2020

Valerie Larson, Coffee Anyone?, 2020

Valerie Larson, Paint Dinner, 2020

Valerie Larson, Paint Dinner, 2020



For more information:
Email Leslie Elsasser at
or Ashley Jablonski at

Breaking Barriers 2020 is supported by the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital, Love IV Lawrence, Hillsborough Arts Council, and the Florida Department of State.