My photographic explorations reflect on identity formation and gendered embodiment, and how both are shaped through early attachments and a maturing spirituality.
Although culturally we find ourselves in the middle of a revitalized women’s movement, discrimination based on gender is still alive and well. We see this in the form of continued pay discrepancies, to scrutinization on decisions for how women use their reproductive systems, to the unnecessary genderization of genderless items, such as pens or razors. What being a woman means in contemporary society -- while vastly expanded since the first wave of feminism -- is still limited by stereotypes and fear laced power dynamics on the job, in religious communities, and in politics.
Additionally, I am interested in how Attachment Theory speaks to how early relationships shape people as they progress to emotional maturity. For better or worse these early relational pathways are later transferred to our concept of the Divine, which also shape the development of self-perception.
Photography for me functions as a pictorial mechanism for examining how we become and what shapes us, and offers the opportunity to bear witness to our own narratives. I am currently working in a mix of film and digital photography, portrait and grid and landscape. In so doing I am paying homage to photographer Catherine Opie’s ability to mix photographic genres, and work within formalist traditions while telling current stories of both herself and her community. My current work is also, like Opie’s, autobiographical and focuses specifically on the tensions of female embodiment and female-designated spaces. It is a conversation on how women become amidst the contexts of domesticity and societal forms. These photographs function as a communal invitation to acknowledge the way female identities are shaped today. In several of the portraits the subject offers a direct confrontation to the viewer and asks: Do you see me?
Scale, installation, and the formal properties of color and lighting are important in this collection. Color becomes narrative throughout my portraits and engages questions about what its presence, hue, shade, or saturation implies in the conversations around feminine identity. Lighting enhances the subtleties of texture and detail to draw attention to these moments in the image that may otherwise be missed. The scale of my work invites the viewer into the tensions of vulnerability and intimacy by scaling many of the human subjects to a 1:1 ratio. Through the inclusion of interspersed landscape and domestic detail photos, the installation provides the viewer moments of pause to consider their own story of identity formation.
My photographs hold the tension of being and becoming often in spite of one’s early attachments, and respond through exploring how women become ourselves. My work invites conversation with the viewer about the conflict of formation, how one overcomes difficult early attachments, offers space to wonder about the presence of the Divine in all parts of that process, and invites viewers to consider how an expansive understanding of what it is to be a woman today affords a positive impact for all of humanity.
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