a shadow that grows larger as the sun moves
I was talking to a classmate at the start of the year about a recent breakup and how I was mourning the loss of language from that relationship: pet names, inside jokes and all of the comforts and familiarities of speech that develop over the course of a 10-year relationship. He said something along the lines of “as humans, we only understand ourselves as ourselves in relation to other people, and we experience that most profoundly in our intimate relationships.” I realised during that brief conversation what my practice was most concerned with – photography’s role in the mediation of those intimate relationships, and how it affects the way that we navigate them.
Across my practice, various forms of image-making are brought together to explore the construction and reconstruction of intimacy through photography. I am interested in how images function in our daily lives–particularly in our relationships–and how they can be used a tool for creating both distance and proximity
Flicking through the pages of my workbooks, where I print and collect all of the photographs that I make, I see images and ideas that reoccur–small moments of tenderness in the home, closeups of flowers in the park, sunsets, reflections, and traces of people in the city. I am often looking through something at something else–over a shoulder, through a fence, window or semi-transparent material. These then get reconstructed in the studio through an accumulation of material processes; people and colours are abstracted through a wet, reflective material or images from my phone are printed and collaged onto a plastic construction sheet.
Something that unites a lot of my studio work and the images that I collect from my life is the idea that something exists beyond what we see in the photograph. In the studio, material processes function to draw attention to the surface of the image to suggest the possibilities of what lies beyond it.
This is, as I understand it, the function of desire; it draws us closer, only to reveal what lies within it: the stories that we tell ourselves in order for it to exist. What reveals itself in distance hides itself within proximity, and vice versa. There is a darkness to the desire that I feel, and I hope that my images communicate this. But there is also something to be held in this darkness, and so much of my work is about finding joy within these spaces.
When I first started to make these images I thought that I wanted to make photographs that took me out of this world, but quickly realised that having them exist helped me appreciate everything around me. I saw that the images that I wanted to make were everywhere–on the tube, at the bus stop, in my bedroom, through the window, or caught in the reflection of a lampshade. I hold onto them and archive them obsessively. My current studio practice draws connections between this mass of images in order to create spaces of joy for myself and others to inhabit.