By Myself

I know I have stuck emotions that need to be released if I've gone a few weeks without crying. I began the series "Safe to Cry" as a way for me to understand what's on my mind, honor my feelings, and hold space for my tears. To trigger my emotions, I look into a mirror and repeat affirmations until there's one that is difficult to say with conviction, or I will listen to music- whatever intuitively feels right at the time, and connect the lyrics to my personal life. I welcome my camera into these moments, but I am still sensitive to the presence of an outside gaze. I made many attempts at capturing my crying before I was successful. I reminded myself that these photos are for me first and foremost. I took a deep breath, looked through the lens, and envisioned my future self looking back at me. True intimacy requires vulnerability. I carried this practice into my working series "Self Portraits with Strangers." Alison, Juliette, and I did this by sharing childhood memories, braiding each other's hair, looking into the eyes of each other, and breathing in synchronization. They used the cable release trigger to make the self-portraits with me when they felt the moment was right. The act of self-portraiture is a dance, and to move the audience with your performance, you need to feel it- really feel it. It's about letting go and breathing through the medium.

The complete body of work for which these two ongoing series support is titled "By Myself." It is my diary. When I'm unsure how I feel, I allow my intuition to move me. Once I've made a photo, I can reflect and find understanding.  I have made photos that speak to my spirituality, my relationship with my mother, self-affection, my shedding hair, the way the light reflects into my bedroom from the M train passing by my window, and my relationship with the camera. 

I am inspired by the women photographers who came before me and have made self-portraiture, showcasing their position as photographers—the likings of Vivian Meier, Imogene Cunningham, Ilse Bing, Lotte Stam Bees, etc. To see a woman in control of the gaze cast on her is an incredible act of liberation. It is a privilege that I grew up with access to a camera, formal education, general acceptance to my place in the industry, and this platform for my voice. That is why making these self-portraits is so essential. I feel it goes beyond just my personal growth; it contributes to a larger conversation. I want to share with the world that it takes strength to be soft, and embracing our emotions and building relationships with ourselves is honorable. In liberating myself, I hope to inspire and uplift others as well. Other influencers on this body of work include; Adrianne Lenker, Emily Knecht, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Francesca Woodman.

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“By Myself,” in its physical form, is a large-scale windchime. The photos are printed on Charmeuse fabric, with chimes attached and hung from a suspended ring. A fan is blowing on the work from a distance so that the prints are in constant motion and play their own music. The photographs are sized 18x24. The woven textile is torn at the edges and is shedding. The image is visible even when the print is turned around. Viewers are encouraged to interact with the work. I want people to walk through the photos to hear the chimes and feel the fragility of the fabric. And the best way to view them is by lying on the floor beneath them as that is my view when I have them suspended above my bed.