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Dark, Masochistic Self-Portraits Capture the Agony of Love Lost

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Following the breakdown of a seven year romance, New York City-based photographer Hsin Wang re-staged her grief, giving physical presence to the psychological wounds inflicted by love lost. De-Selfing traces the uncomfortable—and often masochistic—ways in which we unravel when the bonds of intimacy are torn asunder.

After the breakup, Wang forced upon herself a metamorphosis, longing to distance herself from who she once was to become a woman idealized, a partner unconditionally lovable. The more she tore away, the further she fell into torment, until at last she choice to allow herself, quite simply, to exist.

De-Selfing features a variety of male models, but the heroine is always the photographer herself. She keeps her face obscured from view so that we too can take her place, becoming enmeshed in our own forgotten tales of love scorned. The process of digging up memories long since entombed within her psyche, she says, was purifying, leaving her unshackled and liberated from the agony that wracked her so soon after the initial heartache.

Ultimately, De-Selfing allows us to relish the exquisite agony of being left behind, before asking that we let it go, accept the blow, and take our first few steps on along a solitary road.

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All images © Hsin Wang

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