The autumn of life is often more complex in reality. It is a period of life filled with loss and awareness to the travails of growing old and the potential of mental illness. My project, Memory Keepers, examines these elements, as two of my family members are afflicted with dementia. I am not focusing on the painful loss of them, but rather on the fear of my own possible cognitive illness, and the inevitable isolation that coincides.
In my empty house where there once was shrieking laughter of children and a busy life, I often experience loneliness and solitude. I am apprehensive that these feelings and my occasional forgetfulness is a foreboding of what is to come. My intention with Memory Keepers is to document something of this vulnerable time by photographing personal objects that conjure up memories of a multitude of life experiences.
For this series I have used the alternative processes Cyanotype over Platinum Palladium printing to give these items the reverence they hold in my heart. Each handmade photograph mirrors the actual object and its memory. There is a limited series of 5 each, 4” x 4” or 4” x 6”.
Since the beginning of time, the female form has been considered an object of beauty to be used as inspiration for literature, poetry, and works of art. My series, Genuine Beauty, continues this tradition with a new perspective, which includes the female gaze, where my consideration of beauty includes not only the physical but also the internal self. Photographing a woman in her most vulnerable state is not an act that includes notions of power; instead, I seek to reveal my subject’s interior experience of womanhood, as well as my own.
Inspired by works of Ruth Bernard, Edward Weston and others, I photograph as a way to look for hidden secrets, strengths, and insecurities. Every woman embodies genuine beauty if she is willing to reveal her true self and enigmas. During our time together, my model and I discuss our shared experiences as females and what we want to achieve visually; a kind of femme poetry. This introspection allows us to work more closely together with integrity. The result is a photograph that is at first, a reflection of my own beautiful and sometimes-fractured feminine experience, and perhaps a universal one.
Making handmade prints using alternative processes, Cyanotype over Platinum Palladium, my intention is to give reverence to the genuine beauty of women. My female gaze and act of photographing nude women is a mirror into my own psyche and understanding of what I find beautiful. This is a limited series of 5 each, 4” x 4” or 4” x 6”.
I began this project as an exploration into my personal feelings about feminine beauty and identity when my daughter asked me if I thought I was pretty. Answering this question was more difficult than I’d expected. In short, my answer was that I felt “perfectly imperfect,” because beauty comes from within. I feel that beauty is more complicated than our physicality, and includes our mental, intellectual, emotional, spiritual, and social selves as well. This is what I wanted to capture in photographs of women, their inner beauty emerging from their physical body. Even though these are not self-portraits, each image resonates with my life experience at one time or another. The ebbs and flows of womanhood are somewhat universal. Beauty is a personal and private journey for every woman to learn to live in her own skin, letting social expectations fall by the wayside, and allowing her own sense of beauty and individuality to emerge.