My practice investigates self-portraiture through photography and alternative processes as a means to expose invisible weights of abuse, generational trauma, and anxiety that are internalized and carried within. In photographing myself, I’ve come to think of my body as an environment. A place that I live in that is affected by water, chemistry, and sun. Like any environment, it has been impacted by its experiences and the people it has come in contact with. Within my work, I examine evidence of landmarks of trauma amongst the landscape of my body and navigate expressions of inner turmoil. Having been influenced and motivated by Rosalind E. Krauss’s proclamation, “... photography is an imprint or transfer off the real; it is a photochemically processed trace causally connected to the thing in the world to which it refers in a manner parallel to fingerprints or footprints or the rings of water that cold glasses leave on tables... On the family tree of images it is closer to palm prints, death masks, the Shroud of Turin, or the tracks of gulls on beaches.” I move to create self-portraits in ways that allow for transformation and mutation; with elongated exposures, undeveloped photographic chemistries or through the relational aesthetics of installation.
My latest body of work, LANDMARKS, is a series of self-portrait body blueprints created with cyanotype emulsion on cotton gauze fabric that is reminiscent of skin in texture. Cyanotype was one of the first photographic processes developed in the 1800s and is a contact printing process that relies on sunlight for exposure and water for development. Historically used by architects, botanists, and engineers; to create blueprints or scientific illustrations of flora. By working this photographic emulsion into my skin and printing myself onto lengths of fabric, I created body blueprints, and these resulting cameraless self-portraits are made up of latent impressions from the historic archive that is my skin. An element of risk is involved in creating these works. But discomfort felt superficial given the experiences my body has had with sexual assault, physical abuse, and self-harm. In the past I had used self-mutilation as a way of manifesting emotional pain, therefore, because of this history, I found it fitting to put myself at risk to create a map of my own bodily environment. The slow exposure of the emulsion on fabric is evocative of the appearance of a bruise, in that it shifts colors as time goes on. What starts as a sickly yellow, transforms to blue, but not without first shifting through a spectrum of green hues. Because this is a light and time-sensitive process, there is a direct relationship between the hue of the emulsion and the age of the mark. Unlike a bruise on the body, however, these marks made by the contact between my skin and the fabric, will never fade but rather deepen over time. While traditionally cyanotypes are developed after exposure, fixing the image and rendering it no longer mutable; I leave my works undeveloped to inspire transformation.