speaking of identity: I went to the Reykjavik Museum of Photography, this show by Sigríður Ella Frímannsdóttir knocked me on my ass. 
All of the photographs are beautiful, and provoked me in a deep womanly way. My last child, now 14, was a child by choice, with some involved prenatal testing. When you opt for the tests it means that you have spent some time thinking about what you can cope with, what your insurance will pay for, and that you are forgiving yourself in advance for the abortion that you will have if the results are not what you might be hoping for. The subject of every photograph in this show is a human who is interesting and fully formed and every one is a human that I made a choice that I would have aborted.

a link to some more of her photographs:

and a link to the show:
the photographs in the show are all set up in the same way, the subject is sitting on a chair against a busy flowered background, the lighting is flat and even, and every person in the photographs makes eyecontact with the lens. The images were all presented in the entrance hall to the main exhibit, unframed, and held to the wall with tacks.
who you are
what you do and/or/vs. what you like to do
Where do you come from?
Where are you now?
Where are you now compared to where you thought that you would be?

Just which iteration of you are you right this minute?
>time and identity.
where did the transition from daughter to mother happen? That change from “Shelley are you coming home for Christmas?” to “Mom, I’m staying home for Christmas” and now: “Hallie, are you coming home for Christmas?” to “We’ll stop by if we get a chance, Mom”

Identity as an image:
Can one image really do it? Maybe only if in crisis, or a small child. A good friend had a stroke last week. An art director, singer, writer and friend who can now fit into one image of closed eyes in greenish hospital lighting.

Do I need to make this personal? Do I need to have this one 8 1/2” x 11” or 11” x 8 1/2” image [remember to ask about this, portrait or landscape?] get all of how I define myself into one image in a black frame behind glass?

Somewhere recently I was asked for 3 adjectives that described myself. I came up with middle-aged, punctual, short. Three more: durable, mother, artist. Maybe the trick will be to make an image that is worth a thousand words or at least 100. Can I get a shot of my hands in my work gloves? That would show a lot, the holes in the gloves, how bruised my fingers get. How to set that up? Camera, timer, tripod? B+W and contrasty to show the wrinkles and wreck that my hands are – would show age, gender, and if not occupation at least some idea that I’m a laborer.
“Be aware of tropes. A trope is a common or overused theme or device- a cliché.” At least clichés come from truth.

UPS morning

everything that needs to be in my pockets when I leave for work at 3am.

I come home in the morning
I go to bed feeling the same way
I ain’t nothing but tired
Man I’m just tired and bored with myself
-Bruce Springsteen

Indeed, I am tired and bored with myself. I think that I’ll go for who I want to be, or what I remember from earlier versions. Red shoes are both a trope and a cliché, and my strongest image for this project.

Snow Day 3-5-2015: having a bit of hardware trouble, trying to upload the 3 images that I was going to bring to class.

the morning me.

the morning me.

a different identity

a different identity

red shoes, ready to go

red shoes, ready to go

What shows identity without a person in the image? Could I arrange a good shot of the stack of stuff that Will plops down when he comes home from school? Backpack, Gym bag, coat, shoes, gloves.. He sheds the student Will at the door and becomes my boy Will in one noisy stinky moment as he opens the fridge door.

I was very interested to learn of Catherine Opie’s photographs of young boys becoming football players. Her images really caught the change, the boys don’t just put on equipment, they put on a persona. And then they run with it, bigger somehow.

Football Identity:
how did my boy get from here:

Will, passport photo

Will, passport photo

to here:

on the bench,  yearning for the field

on the bench, yearning for the field

to this young MAN in a year?:

Will, first day of school freshman year.

Will, first day of school freshman year.


One thought on “Identity

  1. This is funny, heartfelt, and honest. So much of what gets written about photography can be just a lot of blather. Your comments and observations have the ring of truth about them, that imbues the images with interest even for a non-parent who doesn’t care about sports.

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