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"I felt a sense of guilt," explains artist Meghan Quinn. Her quiet, deliberate manner seems to belie any sense of unease, but she explains, "I met my husband really young. I was 18. Before him, there was a girl, but when I met him I knew I'd found the person I wanted to be with. Even so, I felt like my life was decided for me when I was really young." What would today have looked like if she'd followed her road not taken?
Quinn's photographic art balances great delicacy with stinging social commentary, exploring gender, identity, activism, and culture. In her series "My Muse, My Love," she gently pushes aside the veil of what might have been, exploring through collaged images the lives of two women -- an artist-photographer, and her muse. "As the project evolved, the characters became personifications of two sides of myself," explains Quinn. "More specifically, they epitomized who I was and who I have become as a partner. One is more hesitant, guarded. The other is more grounded and nurturing."
Evie and Bree -- evolving as characters, growing more defined as aspects of Quinn's personality and past -- are actually both Quinn herself. "I started after Christmas, 'cause I gained about 20 pounds, ate as many cheesecakes as I wanted. Bree is a little softer, a little curvier. I shot her the first two months of the year. Then I started eating healthy again, got back in shape, and changed my hair in April." She then created the images of herself as Evie, and collaged the two characters together into the same moments. "I wanted to show snapshots in their life," Quinn says.
And the guilt? "I'm a big proponent of art being therapy. I wanted to do this to work through the issues I have with my own sexuality and my place in the LGBT community that often acts as if the 'B' doesn't exist. I'm much more grounded and have a better understanding of myself from it."
Going between the two characters put Quinn on an emotional roller coaster. "My husband's been behind me on it all the way," she says, "even though my past relationship with a woman kinda caused me problems at first. We almost broke up. But you find none of that really matters, because the bisexuality was there all along -- so what's the big hang-up?" The project hasn't just helped Quinn flesh out the internal history of her heart, but through giving her characters life, she's allowed the disparate parts of herself to breathe, to thrive, and the roads -- both taken and not taken -- to unite.