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Generational Courage

We say a lot without saying anything at all. She said, "why would anyone want to see me in my bra," then without hesitation, proceeded to take 155 more photos. The other, "good Lord. I don't know why I let you talk me into this," then without hesitation proceeded to take 171 more photos. We say a lot without saying anything at all.

I used Lorna Simpson as inspiration for this series. She was a pioneer for conceptual photography, as she captured ideas and thoughts along with an image. I was inspired by how her work was presented — in a repetitious manner that was not at all redundant. I was drawn to her subject matter; conventional views relating to identity, gender, history, memories, and culture. I wanted to give reverence to how she used texted to add to the story as well as capture the spirit of the unidentified. We see what is there and what is not in her work and that is truly what I wanted to encapsulate.

My main subject focus is history, gender, and identity; not to be confused with gender identity. Women, in the heteronormative sense, usually are pressured to keep themselves thin, and pretty, and healthy to be accepted in society, mostly by men. I wanted to debunk this notion by showing women who were uncomfortably comfortable in their skin. Their bodies do not reflect the accepted “standard of beauty,” yet there is so much beauty between each of them. Their story plays a huge part in their personal and social identity, and that is what was captured.

A dim lit setting was used to force the use of high ISO. The noise acts as an added texture and creates a ruminating mood. The simple setting pays homage to Lorna Simpson, as does their hidden identities. The piece is called Generational Courage — a series about three generations of women, one of which is unseen, however, known. Each photo has been given an identity, driving the viewer to create their own story. Who are they? What is their purpose? How did they survive? Why are they significant? What makes them brave? I know, but the beauty of it all is, you get to decide. 

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