Junior Tara Murphy is no stranger to photography. She is the recent recipient to the Phyllis & Gary Greenstein Award in the Visual Arts. In her recent project titled “The Game,” she delves into the aspect of college relationships and what they are, versus what they appear to be. In the seven-photo project, she features several types of relationships such as abuse, infidelity, and miscommunication. Each photo tells a different story, and has received many positive reviews on her website and Instagram feed.
The Touchstone sat down with Murphy to speak about her shoot and how she brought “The Game” to life. Murphy explained that she was inspired by the stories she hears on an everyday basis from her friends, classmates, and even through gossip.
“When it comes to college dating, it’s all talk until you lay it out in front of you and you see the pattern. I wanted to bring to light the actual problems about relationships, some are funny, but some are more serious issues that I wanted to portray in a way that everyone could understand,” said Murphy. When she realized this was the shoot that she wanted to do, she immediately started thinking of couples on campus that could partake in creating these stories. Luckily, everyone was very interested in partaking in her project.
The ideas were not all Murphy’s. In fact, a lot of the ideas were brought from outside sources, “everyone has a different take on the college relationships, so getting some outside input helped a lot,” said Murphy. She expressed how each photo was unique, just like the different types of relationships there are.
“Every relationship is different, especially to different people and I think that is one of the most important parts of the project,” said Murphy.
Some photos were more powerful than others and conveyed real issues that many relationships face behind closed doors.
“Part IV” portrayed an abusive relationship of a couple looking happy in one photo, but the young woman is bruised and beaten in
“I think that it is important to bring domestic abuse to light and show a straight forward visual representation of something that is happening in relationships that many people might look past,” said Murphy. She also included the domestic abuse hotline, stating “if you think it’s serious, it is.”
“Part V” is another powerful piece, depicting a couple happy in one photo versus that same couple screaming at one another in the next. Murphy explains that “students post on Instagram all the time like everything is fine, as if they are so happy in their relationship. What they don’t show you is what’s on the inside that behind the screen things are messy and could be verbally abusive.” She believes that this is all too common and that this generation has a hard time with messy and verbally abusive relationships, that sometimes couples just miss the signs completely.
“Part VI” is about coming out and accepting who you are. Murphy explains that her research included reaching out to a friend who was in a relationship with another girl.“ I spoke with her about what struggles she had in that relationship, which helped bring out my idea,” said Murphy.
Each of Murphy’s pieces to “The Game” can be relatable in some way, and she hopes that couples are inspired by her shoot to say something if they see something.
If you’re interested in any of Murphy’s other work, you can follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @taralaurenarts, and website, www.taralaurenarts.com.