UMD photographer tells the stories of Generation Y

Alyssa Justice_the artist  

Years pass, and each generation seems to come with its own endeavors, its own rules and its own perspectives.

For many years I felt like I didn’t belong in Generation Y, people born between 1980-2000, because I have always felt misplaced, and that I had too old of a soul.

I started to realize that I didn’t belong because I was obsessed with breaking rules and trying new things. But then I found others from Generation Y that have minds similar to mine.

Coming up with the idea to interview and photograph 50 different strangers seemed appealing; maybe this would be my chance to find the secret to the success and the soul searching passion these people had.

In a span of four months, I searched and friend-requested close to 75 individuals hoping I would be able to meet the 50 magic people that would help me see the good in our generation, and hopefully igniting enough fire to start a full blown revolution.

On Feb. 3, 2015, at the Tweed Museum at UMD, the series will open and all of my time searching for resources, inspiration, and people will come across as a part of my daily life.

The interviews consist of the following questions:

  • Do you attend a school?
  • What is your hometown?
  • What is your age?
  • Define your style and the people you associate with.
  • If you could live anywhere where would you live and why?
  • How would others define you?
  • What are you most afraid of?
  • Are you religious, spiritual, or neither? What’s your story?
  • What do you hope to see change in your lifetime and how do you hope to help?
  • What do you want most in life?
  • Who else should I interview?

Here are a few of the people I met.

Leah Beltz

Leah Beltz


My journey started with Leah Beltz, a girl that attends the University of Minnesota Duluth as an art student.

With dreams of going to Australia, New Zealand, and Hawaii, Beltz wants a life of sunshine, and happy, carefree lifestyle in such joyous places.

She shared secrets about herself and  stories that only a few months before I would have never thought possible to hear.

Beltz is an adventure-driven spirit that when giving advice to others said, “ If you are stuck on one perspective, you are missing out on what else the world could be.”

Interviewing Beltz confirmed the project was going in the right direction. I have met couples, people of all economic statuses, ages, genders and races.

Jibreel Jackson

Jibreel Jackson


Fifteen people later, I met up with a man named Jibreel Jackson.

“I’m hard to compare to someone else,” Jackson said.

He is a unique guy, afraid to fall, to feel like he must put a facade on and afraid that when people find out who he is that they won’t accept him for him.

“People change, or try to change their unvoiced thoughts,” Jackson said. “If you can change how you think, you can change who you are.”

I have talked to 40 individuals so far. I have met people like Saba Andualem, who is focused on teaching people good food practices; and Marissa Murdy, who wants equality between men and women and stopping the silence. I think that this gallery piece will open eyes to many individuals.

When the walls are filled with black and white images, and the space is transformed into a living room for viewers to sit and read about each of the 50 people, the hope is that they will be submerged in the project that occupied my days for many months.



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