Maybe she’s born with it, maybe its ketamine.
I when choose to use myself as subject, I hope to convey a certain vulnerability that resides within the human condition. My self-portraits draw from my own personal experiences, and through an abstract approach I detach from my physical self while maintaining a tone that is emotional and narrative. I believe human emotion is the binding thread of our civilization. If you took everything else away, pain is still pain and love is still love. Someone once told me that, ‘You can’t measure pain. Its relative. We all experience it in our own way.’ Through using my physical self, I strive to use my form as a vessel to convey something beyond the physicality of the body itself.
This is struggle.
Getting back in the swing of things…
This self-portrait was taken in my bathroom. Backlit and intentionally blurred to capture a certain ambiguity on the human form. By removing facial recognition, I intend to create an anonymity with the subject and the viewer, hoping the work acts like a reflection of the person in front of it. The idea of one half of something, two parts that make one whole fascinates me. Duality exists in all facets of human experience. I pose as a metaphor for non-binary culture, the figure in the image could be my feminine side or it could be my masculine side. It is simply one half of the human form.
In response to the thirty million people whole lost their healthcare overnight and to the fifty-five million women who will no longer be able to afford birth control. Women who are no longer given the simple human right to be in control of our own fucking bodies. The only thing that truly belongs to us, nothing was ever promised. We were never entitled to anything, other than what we were born with. Skin. Thats all. Skin. If we aren’t allowed to be the boss over our own bodies, then what can we control? In a time when abortions are next to illegal, overpopulation and a limited resource epidemic, climate change; more women are left without access to birth control?! When you think about it, they are telling us that we aren’t allowed to decide whether or not we want children, suppressing our libido and keeping us in check. It is a mans world after all. We all better behave. To live in a country whose leaders don’t care about the safety and wellbeing of other people, says a lot about the place. It is clear that according to the current political structure, and perhaps for previous political structures, humanity is expendable.
Recently, I have begun taking self-portraits again. My self-portraits usually obscure my face, blur my features and fall somewhere in-between abstraction and narrative. In talking about gender without actually portraying gender, the conversation becomes about the neutrality of gender itself. Gender roles are learned behaviors, we don’t come out of the womb “knowing how to sew” if we are born with female genitalia. The same goes for people born with male genitalia, the genitals you’re born with don’t determine your gender either. Sometimes the universe gets it wrong. I always attempt to encompass my feminine and masculine energy into my self-portraits, because both are equally important.
In a culture where they tell you that exercising your freedom of speech is unlawful, be loud. Scream if you must, stand up and demand human rights. As a woman, living in a patriarchal society, where men tell me what to do with my body, determine how much money I make, what I should be doing with my life, whether or not I should bear children, get married etc, its important for me be bold, daring and unapologetic.
This is my loud mouth.
Transition by definition is; the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another. To think of the process in its totality is rather magnificent. I envision it as if we are catapulted off the earth in the most beautiful arc, and when we finally land on our feet, the transformation has taken place and we have evolved. The period of flying, the scary and challenging part, is what fascinates me most. Flying or floating somewhere between Earth and sky, your stomach in knots, doing summersaults as you soar exhilarated and terrified, trying not to look down. Its hard to see clearly when you’re in the middle of your own rebirth, no matter how large or small, yet the view can be stunning, if we stop, take a breath and take notice.
This how I transform.
In an effort to break away from my norm, (i.e. blue flowers and self-portraits) I began going through some older work from my Leaving Home Behind series. It is a photo essay that takes place at Evergreen Village, a trailer park out in Sycamore, IL. This trailer park has existed along the Kishwaukee River for several decades. However, being so close to the river has caused severe flooding issues over the years. I began photographing it a few years ago. At first I was just drawn to its aesthetic, I quickly learned that this place was in the process of a FEMA buyout and soon all the residents would be relocated and this place would be bulldozed to the ground. I spent many Sundays there, getting to know the residents and the details of the architecture. Unfortunately, this place is no more. The time has finally come to put this work to bed… It will eventually become a park for other residents of Sycamore to enjoy. It once was home to many people who did not want to move, despite all the trouble they had.
This image was shot intentionally out of focus. It was always intended to be shown as an abstract, the in focus image is part of my series. I title it Terrible Vision because of the visual obstruction that is created. Like driving into the sunset, looking through a dirty windshield. However, the metaphor is powerful and can be applied to many aspects of life. So often we get caught up in our own frame of thinking, and for whatever reason, are unable to see beyond two inches in front of our own nose. As I write, I am reminded of the Fiona Apple song, Window. She sings, ” I was staring out the window… It was a filthy pane of glass. I couldn’t get a clear view… It wasn’t the outside world I could see, just the filthy pain I was looking through.”
I find these lyrics to be so powerful. So often I have been in her shoes. She later sings, “I had to break the window. It was in my way.” There is an old Buddhist proverb that sates:
It is only when the fire scorches us
That we truly begin to awaken
So, when your view is so obstructed by whatever pain you may be feeling. Feel it, move though it and kick the wall down.
Patti Smith once said, “When you hit a wall, just kick it in.” I find so much truth in that.