Originally the Queer Portraits series existed as static flush-mounted prints, grouped in threes based on their models; one photo out of each set was paired with a poem. While the series was powerful, it lacked something extra.
Putting the photos together in this Zno book gave it that "extra." The artist statement came naturally to me, & acts as the perfect introduction to the series - & for those less aware of gender discourse, an introduction to a much more intersectional & open LGBT narrative. The conclusion of the book also highlights the experiences of the models in their own words. They contributed quite heavily to the creation of not only the visuals, but the poetry & theme as well. This book is OUR book, all three of us.
The book format of my Childhood Personas photography series, combining digital & letterpress printing, with polymer plate type + imagery & luster photo prints.
I created these photos in a 6-week period during the summer of 2015. I was so busy creating these visual narratives, that I couldn't spend much time on their presentation. The first version was a hastily constructed portfolio, with the images placed behind plastic paired with journal pages, featuring the quote that inspired the image in my handwriting & other haptic imagery. It was... acceptable, but didn't truly match the meticulous nuanced construction of the photos themselves.
But the treatment that Childhood Personas deserved, as a series of photos & as a concept, needed more. It needed hours upon hours of time in a letterpress studio. I created template spreads of background imagery in Photoshop, thematically complimenting each photo, but not detracting from them, as well as typeset their original quotes. These files were later turned into polymer film, then polymer plates, then finally printed & bound.
Childhood Personas is an addition of 5.
This book started with the two sets of grids I created for my Planned Parenthood series. These grids were the highlight of a series that seemed incomplete, in progress, in transition trying to find its final form.
In my book arts classroom was Our Bodies, Ourselves - a classic [yet at times, quite outdated] feminist group of text that I had been meaning to read for a while.
In order to strengthen the original images, & deepen the philosophical divide between the "pro" & the "against," I created a double-sided accordion book, each side featuring a combination of my photos, excerpts from Our Bodies, Ourselves, & my blackout poetry of its text. The "pro" sits on pink paper; its spreads feature unedited cut-outs of the original text, & more "positive" poetry. The "anti" sits on brown paper; its spreads feature blackout poetry that greatly perverts the original nature of the text - its rhetoric shaming & misogynistic; its "empathy" insincere propaganda.
Featured: the Blurb version of my Emotional Language project. This format places photos in pairs & splits each book by "emotion" in a linear narrative.
Each image was created to work in relation to its eight other counterparts. Separating each emotion into chapters transformed the project from merely an interesting formal take on emotions, to a truly toxic personal narrative. Turning page after page becomes overwhelming, just as how I am overwhelmed by my emotions.
To be added: the work as 3-dimensional cubes. This project now takes the form of nine cubes with six sides. The viewer can follow the guide book & its order, or create a non-linear emotional language that best represents their own experience. These cubes are playful & childlike, yet deeply emotional, disturbing, & distressing. They are a dichotomy, pushing you to & from the work.
I wanted to challenge what a "photo book" is. While the Blurb book presents the photos in order, it does little to transform the work. In its cube form, the language becomes physical, & transcends its original passive nature. Emotions are now more "tangible," more tactile; they can't be suppressed.
During the spring & summer of 2012, I documented my old high school swim team with black & white film. It was an old project, at an old school, and now... an old set of friends. "let go." features original negatives of that time, text from polymer film, & contact sheet protectors "bound" with string.
I will always identify with swimming. Swimming made up my entire summer; it was my life. I would spend almost every waking moment with members of my team. Early mornings were practices; late afternoons were the ends of meets; & evenings were full of pasta & painkillers. I swam eight years for a summer club. In high school, I swam all four years, & played water polo for three. I was a captain for both teams. I have six Varsity letters. I had many teammates & dear friends.
I always assumed we would stay friends. But over time... we've drifted apart. People I once considered family, who I would spend 12+ hours at a time with, are no longer in my life. To say that it's been painful is an understatement; to say that it's caused existential anxiety & self-loathing is an understatement. I fixate on why I'm no longer important to them. I immediately assume that it's a flaw or fault with me, & not them.
But sometimes healing means letting go. I can cherish those memories I had with them - memories archived with permanent film. But I have to let that pain go. I have to let that idealized time go.
But it's so hard. Every time I try... I panic. I just can't. Why can't it be like before?
Billy B. is dedicated to Billy Bibbit.
the shadows shudder / on the padded walls / looming / lingering / taunting / terrifying / amidst the disarray / he finds the / scissors / horror: an overwhelming & painful feeling caused by something frightfully shocking, terrifying, or revolting / the / horrorshow / finally / stops
side two: why did / they / leave you / alone / with the / scissors?
Billy Bibbit / One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest are staples of my personality & my work. It was refreshing to make a double-sided book; a dirty book; a horror book; a book made of band-aids, tape, tissue, & medical imagery.
For other examples of my characterization of Billy Bibbit, feel free to browse my fanfiction works.