A Woman Is Always An Island, 2016 - ongoing
If you'd like to participate in this ongoing photographic series, please contact me directly.
a woman both exists and is obliterated.
- Rebecca Solnit
A woman is a paradox. She is and she isn't; often an ongoing contradiction, as a means of survival. ‘A Woman is Always an Island’ is an ongoing photographic series representing the female emotional narrative as visualized in portraits of women floating above and beneath the surface of natural bodies of water.
This work is a new path in my continued pursuit to understand and visualize how emotional experience arises from surrounding landscape, how who we are is influenced by where we are. In this work, body and water will collage together as women are photographed individually within natural bodies of water that hold personal significance. As they float above and drift below, revealing some while concealing even more beneath the dark waters surface, these women represent their existence within a liminal space. These women’s bodies appear as a temporary island, as a constant hovering between appearing and disappearing, being born and dying. The work asks the question, “What is it to survive in a liminal space?”
The act of being photographed is in itself a ritual and add to that the act of jumping into open, cold, raw water and it can become an act of healing, a baptism of sorts. Natural water is not necessarily safe, it is neither contained or controlled. We are unable to see what is beneath the surface and that requires a level of trust, just as the act of being photographed includes a risk of exposure and collaboration between subject and photographer.
Throughout these photo shoots, the women and I discuss stories of womanhood, of past and current experiences, allowing for the documentation to bring visibility and healing and for the conversations to merge with the experience of being within the landscape, letting emotional memory become one with the surrounding landscape.
These photos are not mine. They are always an act of collaboration. The women place their bodies within the landscape, opening themselves up and meditating on their stories as they float and drift, maintaining balance, constantly in between sinking and arising, appearing and disappearing.