“I have self-doubt. I have insecurity. I have fear of failure… We all have self-doubt. You don’t deny it, but you also don’t capitulate to it. You embrace it.” – Kobe Bryant

Dealing with insecurities are a part of everyday life. Despite the fact that we live in an age in which technology and social media which helps boost our egos and gives us an inflated sense of self, a lot of us walk around suppressing the inner voice that plagues our private thoughts. That voice points out our vulnerabilities and our imperfections. It repeatedly reminds us of the things we feel most uncomfortable about. It isolates us because we’re afraid to share these weaknesses with others. These were the general similarities in the messages that were shared at Houston photography duo, Clique’s first photo exhibit titled “Imperfection”.

The Imperfect project was described as a “reflection on the beauty in the so-called imperfections and insecurities that humanize us all”. At Winter Street Studios, monochrome portraits hung on a stark white wall that portrayed a variety of different models. They ranged in everything from background to race to body type and wore basic clothing and little-to-no makeup as a means to “break down any material barriers,” that we as people use to protect ourselves from others. Each portrait was accompanied by a nickname and a detailed description by the model of the things they felt most insecure about. During the event, a short movie put together by Jon Conner and Willie “Tee” Blue aired in which each of the models spoke to the audience about their personal internal struggles, their experiences and how they had learned to embrace their imperfections.

Which was the message that the event hoped to pass across to its guests (which it did so successfully) and is also one of the beliefs that Clique founders, Afolabi Mosuro and Ambika Singh share. In shooting the series of portraits, an effort was made to build confidence in these individuals which in turn spread to the audience. Note cards and markers were available for people to write, albeit anonymously, about the things that made them the most uncomfortable and these were pegged on strings that divided the gallery in half across the room’s length. People around the room talked and shared their experiences with each other about the things that made them unhappy or uncomfortable. A safe space was created on that night, at least for those three hours, in which people freely discussed things that they might not have comfortably shared before.

What the organizers hoped to achieve was to get a conversation started; for people to share their experiences on how they had learned to deal with their private thoughts and personal struggles and to realize that they were not alone. Clique was founded on the idea of bringing people together through photography and using the art to make people feel more comfortable in their own skins. “Imperfect” was the perfect event for these goals to come together. 

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*Links to Clique’s page and the producers of the videos have been embedded in the post above where their names were mentioned. The short movie that was shown at the event can be seen on Clique’s Facebook page.*