Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Self Portrait

I've been meaning to share my final photography project. This is one of the most energy consuming projects that I've done in terms of art. I wasn't necessarily exhausted from working on it, however, I felt I learned what it is to be able to appreciate the process of photography--especially for a project that was primarily focused on a body of related work. I was able to let the metaphors come out through the medium--I think i started to grasp what it meant to let the art do the talking ?(when I so much want to justify myself and in doing so, protect myself from critique). I was stuck often on this project, and during the final week when I had what seemed like dozens of final prints but didn't know which ones were "good enough," decided to include the ones that were most arresting (regardless of technicality).The ones I simply liked the most. Though it sounds like it was arbitrary and random, I had a direction throughout the project. I had a purpose, maybe I'll share it at the end of the presentation. But here it is. We were required to have one self portrait and a series of supporting photos. In real life they are itty bitty prints on large matte boards but because of the digital nature of this presentation the size of the matte board has been compromised but, I like what is going on with the shadows.

self portrait. Initial exposure-during the first snow of the season (before thanksgiving), 2nd exposure-used for one of the first projects of the semester

detail of the final work

For this final assignment I felt the need to put some explanation to the story of my work, since I feel it (along with all the work I do) is part of a larger narrative of my life. For this work, I tried to explore and seemed to discover the challenge of processing the loss of youth, the grief that comes with maturation. Now, I don’t feel like this work is meant to say, simply, that I feel I’m getting older and sadder. No. I feel like the process of aging is going through experience and through the experience came, in my case, bouts of anxiety disorders, depression and hopelessness, but through exploring these things and healing from them I am growing. I am aging. This is the cycle of maturation. The child discovering, empty chairs of a classroom (centers, hopefully, of good learning), open doors, and as we age, as seen in the photograph of the man (my husband) surrounded by shadows, assuming the new roles that come with maturation. Through aging and the loss of youth we assume new roles; for me it is as wife, sister, daughter, and aunt, and in the future, God-willing, of mother. With these new roles, we as humans feel the loss of the prior youth, and the limits of our humanity. This is sometimes enough to perpetuate hopelessness, but through my own experience I am learning to embrace these losses and look for what remains. What remain are the things that are visible in the supporting photographs; they are the things that have blessed my life: a community, a Good husband, children to care for, and a home to build.
Though I feel broken and shattered through the process of “growing up” I am learning that this is where I begin.

“There is nothing
to do but learn and wait, return to work
on what remains. Seed will sprout in the scar.
Though death is in the healing, it will heal.”

(from the poem“The Slip” by Wendell Berry)

1 comment:

  1. Gabriele has a great face.
    So does Samuel.
    So does Seth.
    So do you.