The Obsessive and the Compulsive: Spirals and Squares aims to create a window into my brain in order to visualize my experience with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). My work explores ideas of pattern and anxiety. The series features photograms, film photos, and digital photos. Various forms of spirals and squares recur throughout the images, representing the obsessive and the compulsive. Spirals illustrate cyclical thinking, and squares symmetry. Both create infinite patterns that will inevitably be asymmetrical, resulting in anxiety. The series features numerous diptychs, exemplifying themes such as pattern recognition, the separation of the subconscious from the self, and an inescapable descent from compulsive organization to chaos. I use self portraits to highlight the personal aspect of the project, and a slower shutter speed to create a sense of motion. There is direction to many of the patterns I portray, so in some images, I replace lines with arrows. I use photograms and manipulate lighting to increase a sense of abstraction, resulting in the concept of a brain space. Through my project, I hope to express to the viewer an idea of the lens through which I experience the world.


Julia Geniesse is a visual artist from New York City. She is currently a junior at Saint Ann’s School in Brooklyn, and is enrolled in the International Center of Photography’s Teen Academy Imagemakers program. Her primary medium is photography in both analog and digital. Julia’s work aims to investigate themes related to community and mental health. Julia is also interested in science, leading her to explore more alternative processes in her analog photography. She enjoys collage and mixed media in her images, and tries to continuously approach her art in new ways. Through her work, Julia hopes to connect with the viewer, and share the way in which she experiences the world.