[ EPF 2013 SHORTLIST ] ESSAY CONTAINS EXPLICIT CONTENT
The images you see are all cyanotypes that have been printed over the last several months, though the photographs themselves were taken just over a year ago. An onslaught of domestic violence took hold of my former relationship, and this work is an examination of that time – a gentle one or as gentle at one can be with this content. The photographs document the end in particular which nearly resulted in my death.
I work in cyanotype without any foresight as to how it will end… As I understand them, these cyanos are a messy short story or series of shorts because they only make sense as a group, as a body that gets up and walks itself around. The work began with great difficulty, it was nearly impossible for me to look at myself without these terrible fixed judgements or else an overriding sense of guilt. A big hump to overcome: fear. And in a sweeping, bewildering sort of way the work-in itself along with the entire process-has been a shaky vehicle moving me toward forgiveness-The Redemption Wagon-perhaps a VW van? These metaphors aren’t really useful I know. But, you see, I’m trying to paint you a picture with word alone. Painting with written word has been done before and so heartwrenchingly well that the whole thing is a little daunting and frankly I am quite scared of being seen as I was or as I am.
So this statement has gotten rather wordy, when I really wanted to keep it short, succinct. If I could say it in seven words I’d say: This is the work digging toward honesty.
I am an artist living in Richmond, Virginia. While I have no formal photographic training, I spend the better part of my time in the darkroom and experimenting with other printmaking processes. And process is just the word I mean. Because life is inseparable from process, just as my work is no doubt inseparable from my life. I take photographs and I write to better understand it all.
Currently am enrolled in undergraduate courses at a local community college, with no clear end in sight. But I’m certain that the rest of my life I’ll identify with being a student. I’m defining ‘student’ in the most basic sense- somebody who learns. And if there are reoccurring elements in my photographs, which I don’t really know, but if there are, they come from that state of wonder or inquisitiveness that students tend to- otherwise I’m nothing but a monomaniac for the questioning, both the painfulness and the joyousness which are a result of that. And one, I might add, with an impeccable memory.