I am so excited to get in the studio to begin on this new body of work. I have prepared collage bits to go with every photograph posted here and now it is just a question of getting in there to start gluing!
I can’t remember the original idea, or why I started to buy snapshots on eBay in the first place, but once I did I was struck by the sheer volume of misplaced family photographs. These faces lost to history never to be reunited with their families.
To whom did these people belong? What I had accumulated over a few short months is an extraordinary inventory of the American vernacular experience. As I sorted the photographs, I noticed reoccurring themes. Mothers with new babies, newlyweds cutting their wedding cake, the portrait of the soldier in uniform, communions, graduation day, friends in casual groups of three, four, and women standing alone.
So many women standing alone! It was astonishing. Through who’s gaze were these women photographed? Who stood behind the camera? Her lover? Best friend? Sister? I have an extraordinary amount of wallet-sized photographs, which makes perfect sense when you think about it. These were carried in, presumably, men’s wallets. An exchange that I imagine was fraught with emotion and tension. Whether the woman offered it at the risk of being rejected, hoping that he would accept it. Or, to ask. Hoping she would agree to award him the privilege of her miniature smile.
Not only did it make me sad that these people were lost to time, it sent a chill through me. As a childless only child my family photographs will surely meet the same fate. With no one to pass them onto, what else could happen to the images of my beloveds but to end up in a lot with 100’s of others on eBay?
This realization could have sent me into an existential panic, paralyzing me in my tracks or I could turn this moment of contemplation into something tangible.
I chose the latter. My intention with this new body of work is to reclaim these lost and found ladies/ women standing alone through art and collage. To celebrate their lasting spirit captured by one decisive moment on film in what, we can only assume, was a full life like anyone else’s. It is all we have left of them; what was caught by the click of the shutter.
Working with graduate student Sara Harper, we have figured out a method of laser cutting the original artifact without disturbing the woman’s face and in some instances, her hand(s). These are currently in-progress.