First Sweet Truth

Work in progress.

During the Middle Ages, a proliferation of women recorded experiencing spiritual visions. Though often characterized as inherent female emotionalism or purely a response to sexual repression – “a paltry record of sickly compliments and semi-erotic endearments,” as William James describes – these women challenged the dominant epistemology and basis for authority in their time. Often centered around the body, blood, heart, and wounds of Christ, their visionary experiences insisted on direct, first-hand access to God through an affective form of perception.

These women – among them Catherine of Siena, Gertrude of Helfta, Angela da Foligno, and Mechtild of Magdeburg – forced the question of how truth is attained, perceived, and evaluated. Can truth not merely be grasped intellectually, but rather touched, felt, and, especially, seen?

With a camera – the very apparatus which is so often imbued with the power to uncover truth – I respond to these visionary writings. Like no other medium, photography calls into question our vision – what is seen, what is real, and what is imagined. Rather than attempting the insurmountable task of recreating these visions, I aim my camera towards the possibility of belief, and in doing so, acknowledge my own desire for a truth that can be seen.

Using Format