Understanding the Familiar focuses on reconnecting with my deceased mother by
recording rituals and ceremonies to contact her spirit. I create and perform these
rituals myself and with family, as well as with specific objects that once belonged to
my mother. By creating these spaces for my family members we embark on navigating
through our own experience of loss. Not only has it been cathartic, but the project has
also helped me comprehend death within a societal context. Due to medical advancements,
technology, and societal norms, death has become nearly invisible. It's something we don't
typically witness, but are informed of instead.
By bridging life and death in these images I aim at continuing the conversation and
exploration Victorian Spiritualists initiated throughout the late 19th and early 20th
century. This was a particular time in Western culture when sicknesses were
rampant and often untreatable. The visibility of death pushed citizens for a new
understanding of what it meant to die, and the camera was an instrument that
helped rationalize and ground this mystery. With this series my family and I search
for that similar understanding by choosing to get close with death. By sharing the
desire to be spirit communicators we allow ourselves to be guided by mystic forces
as we graze the realm of uncertainty.
Editions available in 13” x 19” & 22” x 31”
Archival Carbon Pigment Prints.