Art has always been an invaluable piece of my life. I have used art to cope with life’s struggles and created my most meaningful pieces surrounded by others. One of my earliest projects was picture book called Animals Around The World in third grade. Incorporating other people and their interpretations is a key piece of my art.
The core of my practices revolves around storytelling. I jumped headfirst into the photography world and recently took another leap into videography. I blend the lines in between them, taking the best pieces of each practice. My stories reflect my personal experiences and the people around me.
I expand on the concept of storytelling with their interactions with their environment. The concept of people being out of their element both literally and in their own lives. I create stories that bring to light taboo and intense topics. My topics include suicide, addiction, depression, bipolar disorder, and more. I use these topics to spread awareness and 'de-taboo' the ideas.
What do shoes tell you about another person? I have always been intrigued with design, that is why I am studying Mechanical Engineering. Ever since I was little, I have asked the question “how did they make this?” Recently I have taken a step back from physical shoes and asking the philosophical questions. Christian Louboutin explained, “A shoe is not only a design, but it is a part of your body language. The way you walk. The way you are going to move is quite dictated by your shoes.” Shoes, like the ones in these pictures, use a 1 piece base and a tongue attachment. It's sewed together and then glued to the bottom or “sole” of the base. There is something about that process that today, when they add their finishing touches, they add status.
Shoes bring people together. Shoes define people, and in society it is almost a measurement of wealth, how expensive your shoes are. When I get nervous I look down to avoid eye contact. And there are people shoes. “Hypebeast” shoes costing hundreds sometimes thousands of dollars can be unfathomable. Shoes falling apart with each step look “unprofessional” or “unacceptable.” I have heard people say, “You should throw those away, those are disgusting!”
Clean, articulate shoes are more than just new or fancy but an indicator of wealth. Grimy and gritty shoes torn to shreds explain more than just the need for new shoes. It is about status and fitting in. Photography is the best medium represent this project, putting real things forward, placing the viewer within that moment in time. Shoes in my project are a tool I use to express deeper concepts. In my project, I explore chaos, unrest, status, and looking one way while being something else.
Migos, in the song, “Walk It Like I Talk It”, explained, “Take my shoes and walk a mile in it. Something you can’t do!”
All writing and photography by Andy Browne; writing edited slightly for clarity.
To see more of Browne's work, go to instagram.com/andy.b.photography