Making Sense of Things – Mia Yaguchi-Chow

Explore the first in a series of works titled “Making Sense of Things,” finding personality in inanimate objects.

Making Sense of Things is a creative initiative to give our members a chance to be creative with the current circumstances. By limiting ourselves to photographing only objects, I wanted to provide an opportunity for members to find personality in inanimate objects. Making Sense of Things was inspired by the pandemic’s effect on our relationship with the spaces we’re in as a result of isolation. By reflecting on the things that surround us, what do they say about ourselves? What objects now surround us more often than before? Whether their choices in objects have a relation to the pandemic or not, members will naturally attempt to make sense of objects as a result of styling them together.


For my contribution to Making Sense of Things, I was inspired by the effects of the pandemic on my expression and perception of identity. The circumstances of the pandemic have changed the way my identity appears to others and in how I understand my identity today. When I think of self-reflection, I tend to think of my appearance, or things directly related to my appearance. However, the items that surround me are just as reflective of my identity as my appearance. What do my immediate surroundings tell me about myself? What has changed and what has stayed the same since the beginning of the pandemic? And how does this change relate to the changes within myself? A Quarantine Self-Portrait is naturally an image of myself—the way I perceive myself during the pandemic. To represent this, I’ve included some articles of clothing I have worn and continue to wear very often, a couple drinks, my guitar amp, stationery, a keyboard, a stress ball, and a set of Matryoshka dolls. The dolls aren’t items I use often, or that are explicitly related to my identity in quarantine, but they act more as a symbol to represent personal growth, or self-discovery. I believe these items together paint an interesting and accurate picture of how my identity has changed (or what it’s like) during the pandemic.