My name is Ana and I am a love addict. All my life, I have been consumed by anxiety and trapped in a loop of idealizing unavailable men.
In march 2020 the Covid 19 pandemic severely hit NY and I was suddenly trapped in my apartment with my anxieties.
This ignited a process of looking inward to dissect and find the source of my addiction.
I started a personal investigation where I merge neuroscience, psychology, images,, and anonymously sourced data from questions I ask strangers.
I photographed partners, close friends, and family members with whom I share similar histories and relationship experiences. My apartment became the stage where I could re signify my traumas and inner world.
I discovered that emotional and physical abuse makes us develop an insecure attachment style with dysfunctional coping mechanisms affecting the quality of our relationships.
I realized my intense infatuations were a way to dissociate from reality and seek pleasure to anesthetize my life-long emotional pain.
I found studies that suggest that exposure to trauma can change the way genes express stress in our brain and that it can be passed on transgenerationally perpetuating dysfunctional cycles and addictions.
I am currently collaborating with data scientist Andrew Hill, and together we designed an anonymous survey to assess how people experience emotions in relationships according to their attachment style. (Link to the surveys here and here). The surveys provide a safe space of expression which will also give us insight into how people feel and perceive their intimacy. The next step is to design an interactive website where people can answer the survey and navigate other people’s experiences.
Through this interdisciplinary scrutinization of relationships, Neuromantic delves into dysfunctional relationships to ultimately highlight why healthy relationships and trauma integration are essential for our wellbeing and mental health.
Ana Vallejo is a conceptual documentary photographer from Colombia based in New York. She has a background in biology and is fascinated with the brain, human consciousness, and its ability to expand and transform.
Her visual projects are research-based and experimental. They invite chance and collaboration to delve into human perception, memory, and emotions. Vallejo is interested in marginal spaces; that which resides outside of the status quo and is often excluded by society and defined by a rigid stigma.
Growing up with a schizophrenic father, in an anxious family system and in a country that has normalized war and violence, Vallejo feels drawn to how trauma affects human emotions, mental health, and relationships – and the potential that art and social bonds offer to heal and transcend.
Vallejo graduated from the New Media Narratives program at the International Center of Photography in NYC as a recipient of the Mary Ellen Mark Memorial Scholarship and a Director’s Fellowship.
Her work has been exhibited in festivals and venues like Photo Vogue Festival (Milan), PH Museum Days (Italy), Currents New Media Festival (Santa Fe, California), Month of Photography in Los Angeles, Lens Culture Emerging Talent (NY) and Foam (Amsterdam). In 2021 Vallejo was selected for the Foam Talent Award, received the Excellence in Multimedia Storytelling award by Center Santa Fe, and earned the 1st prize of The PH Museum Women Photographers Grant.