What makes a portrait a portrait? Does a portrait have to be of a person? By definition a portrait is of a person, but that wasn't an option for me. So it became a challenge, representing someone without them appearing in the photograph. I was playing with the limits and potential on how to represent someone. These photographs are my interpretation of what a portrait can be, a new visual language to define a person. They represent the image of someone close to me without ever showing that person.
Family plays an important role in my life and my work. I've been unable to see my family as often as I am used to due to Covid-19. This distance has revealed how important collaboration is to my artistic process as I would always photograph my sibling Violet prior to the pandemic. It was a way to spend quality time together while merging our two artistic backgrounds (them performing, me photographing) and provided us with something permanent while apart. The photograph belonged to both of us. With the distance created, I was artistically lost without that collaboration capability.
The last time I saw Violet before beginning my senior year, their hair was purple. They ARE the color purple. I searched for and recreated Violet by finding and creating this color close to me. I do this by looking at the previous photos we made together, pulling out methods and props we used to create the photos: glitter, colored plastic, mirrors. I photographed within nature-filled landscapes and comfortable, familial feeling environments, the places that are home to us. I Facetimed them to brainstorm what type of photos I could take, sent them work for feedback and worked together to create more photographs.
This project is searching for a way to collaborate with them and represent them even though we may have been apart for most of the year. It’s a way to work together and find them; to find what I’ve been searching and longing for through this time.