Izze Vanlandingham


Toyland is a photographic series that unloads my deepest sentiments surrounding the act and struggle of having to grow up. It explores the transcendence of time, the tenderness of life and influence of youth culture.
I never know how to define myself and cannot imagine ever really doing so without acknowledging the people, sights, and sounds that surround me.
I understand myself through these fleeting experiences:

The day after Kieran got punched in our house
Sense after she shaved her head
The chaos of a house shared between five twenty-two year olds
The streets of Berlin I walked two summers ago
And the bar after the show is over

By photographing these scenes, this project guides me to slow down, while proving that my friends and I existed. Each photograph is subliminally sending the same message—youth is this unusual thing; it always feels like it is ending but truly I do not think it ever really ends. This is something I have come to understand through these images and the more I watch my parents and other people grow older. Sifting through old family photos, I felt that everyone in my family’s life was complete, because they would always be remembered in a certain way: youthful. As a documentary photographer, I believe the photograph serves a philosophical purpose. It is like a timestamp of all that was real to you in that given moment you documented. Maybe it is because I come from a family of frame guilders, practical hoarders, a grandmother who kept all her candy wrappers in her sock drawer, that I feel as though everything in my life needs to be preserved.