Andrew Donnelly

Who I Am, Where I Was

Growing up in a suburban community, I went to a Catholic school and was exposed to ideas of heteronormativity for most of my childhood. Around the age of thirteen, I found myself beginning to gravitate towards ideas and material things that did not fit the heteronormative narrative, which seemed to be natural to those around me. I knew of no queer people in my community and had very little exposure to anything relating to queer culture. Despite this, I was attracted to queer things and felt queer feelings, although at the time I hardly knew of any associated terminology. I found it nerve-wracking to express myself, however, my drive to express my individuality triumphed my own fears. As a result, I expressed my queerness within an environment that did not necessarily celebrate it.

The resulting feeling was one of awkwardness, a feeling that I was out of place, standing alone. I felt like nobody could relate to me and I could not relate to anybody else. This is the feeling that I sought to display within Who I Am, Where I Was. Through intimately personal self-portraiture and metaphorical still lifes I have put on display a symbolic representation of the struggles I had experienced in my early to late adolescence involving queerness, sexuality, and identity. My hope is that this series will be able to touch any queer youth who may be struggling with similar emotions, letting them know that there are other people in the world who can relate to their complex feelings, whether they know what it is they are feeling or not.


Andrew Donnelly is a Canadian photographer based out of Toronto who is currently enrolled in the Ryerson University BFA Image Arts: Photography Studies program. He primarily works in conceptual self-portraiture, however, he often explores snapshot photography. Through self-portraiture, he explores humanity’s relationships with complex aspects of the human experience such as gender, sexuality, and morality. Using snapshot photography, he celebrates the formal aspects of photography by taking advantage of architecture, harsh shadows, and fleeting moments of the everyday.