(home)body of work

part of the series fallow time: dispatches from a field suspended

i am making because writing is not enough.

elizabeth chin

for the past six weeks or so, since my fieldwork has been on hold, i’ve been taking a photography class online through flower city arts center.* it has really helped me think more deeply about why i make photos, and why photoethnography makes sense to me as a method for living and learning on fertile ground, particularly during fallow time.

a partial list of potential photographic motivations, noninnocent:**

to capture, or to liberate
to humanize, or objectify
to find the light in a dark time
to prove we were there
to interrogate notions of “proof”
to feel something
to add a “pop of color”
to break up some imagined monotony
to be with others, to be alone
to get outside
to expand our space
to chart a path
to start a conversation
to render the ugly beautiful, and the beautiful ugly***
to render the strange familiar, and the familiar strange
to reconnect
to get closer
to keep our distance
to save something for later
to move this out of short term memory
to capitalize on the power dynamics inherent in any looking relation
to fill a cup
to shed some light, or some baggage
to share
to circulate
to archive
to blend in
to stand out
to set the scene
to see something else, or differently
to try out a new lens
to fill a gap
to rest our eyes
to be ok

lately, i’ve been making photos to cope, to care, to soothe. below are some–but not all–of my favorites from the past several weeks.

a reflection of a tree in a puddle
a neon sign in a laundromat window reads "cleanest in town"
a black trash can with the rochester logo on a city sidwalk
residential garbage and recycling bins sit on a curb like old friends
a pothos plant hangs in a ceramic pot on a wall
pink and white blossoms on a tree fill the frame
a faded and rusty yellow fire hydrant

* “street photography and personal documentary,” taught by jason wilder

** donna haraway (1991, 2016) often writes about the concept of noninnocence, as a way to grapple with complicity, even from positions of subjugation.

*** thank you for this articulation, kylie newcomer 🙂