A Piece of Dust in the Great Sea of Matter

A Piece of Dust in the Great Sea of Matter

 

Six years ago, I suf­fered an injury that insti­gat­ed my inter­est in depic­tions of the body. I began research­ing images of the human fig­ure in the land­scape. After wad­ing through his­tor­i­cal and con­tem­po­rary works depict­ing pas­sive female fig­ures, exposed to the ele­ments and unnat­u­ral­ly posed against land­scape back­drops, I set out to make images that crit­i­cal­ly engage con­ven­tion­al aes­thet­ic asso­ci­a­tions between women and nature. With mem­bers of my com­mu­ni­ty, includ­ing fel­low artists, col­leagues, and for­mer roller der­by team­mates as sub­jects, I began mak­ing pho­tographs of women and gen­der-non­con­form­ing peo­ple in land­scapes that I want­ed to see.

The title for the project, A Piece of Dust in the Great Sea of Mat­ter, is an amal­gam of tex­tu­al frag­ments extract­ed from The Unabridged Jour­nals of Sylvia Plath. I read these jour­nal entries through­out my reha­bil­i­ta­tion, find­ing res­o­nance between Plath’s con­tin­u­ous expres­sion of feel­ing con­fined and women’s con­fine­ment through rep­re­sen­ta­tion. The pho­tographs illus­trate a desire to engage with the nat­ur­al world through inten­tion­al, sub­ject-dri­ven par­tic­i­pa­tion. In con­trast to tra­di­tion­al fig­ure stud­ies or por­traits, this work fol­lows a series of lead­ing char­ac­ters through nat­ur­al spaces, such as forests, lakes, prairies, and coast­lines. The rela­tion­ship between these pro­tag­o­nists and their expe­ri­ences of their sur­round­ings is ground­ed in their indi­vid­ual phys­i­cal­i­ty. Some ignore the cam­era and oth­ers per­form for it, but they all demon­strate their agency as sub­jects by active­ly inhab­it­ing these places–often inte­grat­ed with­in the land­scape, at times becom­ing engrossed with, strug­gling against, or even find­ing refuge in, their sur­round­ings.