An Interview with Jessica Manley

By: Emma Mendelson

Jessica Manley took a photography class at her High School in Mt. Arlington, New
Jersey. What started as an elective soon became a passion. After her graduation,
she moved to New York to pursue her new career path at the School of Visual Arts
(SVA). It was there that, thanks to the help of her classes and professors, she finally
developed her thesis.

The thesis she developed was the product of years of photography, starting with her
high school photography class. The subject of her project was her younger sister, age
5-6 at the beginning and has now reached the age of 12.. The photos were originally
in black and white and were more observant of her natural behavior. However, once
Jessica started college, she began to mold the project into one that had a message.

She began to shoot in color and stage her sister into more adult positions in more
adult dress, using her mother’s clothing. With this shift in content, a theme started to
take shape. Jessica wanted to make a comment on the loss of innocence and the
shortening of childhood. The pressure young girls experience to be more sexual ,
this “Kardashionism” as she refers to it, was an integral message she wished to
convey with the photographs. What is interesting, Jessica notes, is that this theme
holds significance to her sister now especially since she is entering this new young-
adult stage in her life, no longer being a child, and time will tell how her age will
transform this project in the future

Her next photography concept will take this theme to the next level. She plans to
take iconic images of celebrities like the Kardashians and the Hiltons and super-
impose them onto images of her sister. You can see her art on her website,

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