Contact is a reconnection to a spirit through the performance of rituals. I create these ceremonies myself and with family members, while often incorporating the last article of clothing that was purchased yet never worn by my mother before she died. I seek to compose a rich visual exploration of grief and loss, of getting “close with death” against a cultural context that couches one of life’s few hard guarantees in imperfect language.
As we navigate transitioning family roles and responsibilities, we create a spaces for loss. In modern society death is something that’s become nearly invisible and something that’s typically told to us rather than witnessed due to many medical advancements, technology, and societal norms. In this series, we build a spiritual connection to death by re-inviting it into the home space and outside environments.
By bridging life and death, these images aim at continuing the conversation and exploration Victorian Spiritualists initiated throughout the late 19th and early 20th century. The visibility of death throughout this time pushed citizens for a new understanding of what it meant to die, and the camera was an instrument that helped rationalize this mystery. In a similar way, my family and I choose to reclaim death by working alongside it.
Though this project is informed by spiritualism, I do no capture spirits, but earthly human subjects poised on the verge of adulthood and uncertainty. These photographs serve to explore the lengths we go to sanitize death, as well as the psychological and somatic shock that death delivers to the living.