holding on, letting go

How do single images evolve into a cohesive collection? Where do the ideas that repeatedly captivate us come from?

The subconscious is wide awake, deep inside the moment in which a photograph is created. So it should be no surprise to me when I find recurring themes {otherwise known as preoccupations or obsessions} amongst the images I’ve created.

Late last year I spent a few weeks looking through my archive of decades of black and white negatives. I was struck by the number of images I had taken of children holding onto people and things – adults, other children, animals, dolls – and I was struck by the fact that I hadn’t really noticed many of these images before, even though I’d revisited my archive many other times. I began printing my negatives, and as I was working, I saw that I would need to bring the images to life in a way that actively described the passage of time. An image that mirrored my own bewildered struggle with life’s transience, and the transience of all relationships. The words of Rilke came to me: We need, in love, to practice only this: letting each other go. For holding on comes easily; we do not need to learn it.

So came to life my series “Holding On, Letting Go,” the fourth body of work in my Illuminating the Negative collection. “Holding On, Letting Go” is a series of black and white, positive (existing in the present) and negative (existing in the past) images, focusing on children, and one fraction of a moment encapsulating a formative relationship in that child’s life.

In response to this work, collector/curator Bruce Brown wrote:

There is a fundamental sense of love, caring for and protecting one for another, whether it’s parent with child or child with pet toys, that transcends and makes it possible to endure those later transitions.The core of what keeps us human in the best sense is learned early in life and is exemplified strongly in this work.