Photobooks by Women @ MFA Boston

In March, I had the pleasure of presenting at How We See: Photobooks by Women, a conference at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, along with some fellow grad students. I spoke about Vanessa Winship’s lovely book, Sweet Nothings.

A short excerpt from my presentation:

“To me, these photographs are primarily about female friendship, and the particular qualities that relationship takes on at the edge of puberty. When I first encountered the portraits in Sweet Nothings, my mind immediately went to Italian author Elena Ferrante’s recent popular series, “The Neapolitan Novels” – the first book, especially, which is titled, My Brilliant Friend. These novels were largely acclaimed for their insight into the peculiarities of friendship between women, from girlhood to adulthood – not a topic that has often been at the center of great novels. Ferrante writes, in the voice of one of the girls in the novel, “We were twelve years old, but we walked along the hot streets of the neighborhood, amid the dust and flies that the occasional old trucks stirred up as they passed, like two old ladies taking the measure of lives of disappointment, clinging tightly to each other. No one understood us, only we two—I thought—understood one another.”

This same sentiment comes to life in Winship’s photographs. The girls often hold each others hands, at once an innocent gesture, but also a way to brace themselves for the uncertain world ahead of them. Their bodies feel like walls. In the portraits of two or three girls together, they stand incredibly close to one another so that there is a barely – if even – a gap between them, their body language speaking to the sort of devotion, camaraderie and trust that they feel for one another. They step in front of the camera with a mix of propriety and excitement, their arms often awkwardly by their sides. But in some photographs, their discomfort gives way to a giggle, or slight boredom as they wait for the shutter to click. Yes, these portraits convey a sense of innocence, as many have pointed out, but moreover, these girls demonstrate an acute awareness for their place in the world and their need for one another in order to navigate that world.”

Interview with Aaron Canipe

Forgot to post this when it first came out, but earlier this year I had the opportunity to interview photographer Aaron Canipe in The Other Journal – check it out here and read an excerpt below.


JL: You’ve written that “this series explores lives and landscapes in transition, like a plateau itself, neither in decline or progression, but a holy stasis that only photography can showcase.”1Why do you believe that only photography is the right medium for this project?

AC: I might not say it’s the right medium for the project, but it’s the right medium for me. Static visuals are ripe with metaphor, and what has symbolic meaning for me may mean something different for you. Since photography’s birth, it has aspired to record reality. My photography deals with slices of the real and what has or will transpire outside of the frame is left to a viewer’s imagination. All we have is a still image to go by—a single moment in time that is just a transition to another and then another. That’s also how it felt for me to grow up in a small town in the South—I felt stuck or in transition, as if I were looking for other opportunities outside of the frame. Because of this, I don’t think I could say how I feel about my part of the world in any other way than with photographs.

Full interview here.

Survived Arrival @ RISD

Survived Arrival
September 27 - October 25, 2018
Red Eye Gallery, Design Center, Rhode Island School of Design
Providence, RI

I’ve got a few pieces in this exhibit of first year graduate student work from the Photography Department at RISD – come see it!

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