She Tells a Story
She Tells a Story is a series of unique silver gelatin photograms made using vintage and antique women’s undergarments. The alluring images are ethereal, delicate and dream-like with delicate strength. They’re surprisingly tactile. Once framed and hung, they appear to be strikingly three dimensional; as though the actual garment is under glass. At first glance, the subjects are simple against a stark background. But look closer and the delicate ribbons, lacey hems, firm boning and timeless net lace provide more to discover
The first piece I made in the series is “Full Slip”. It was the cigarette burn on the right thigh that caught my attention when I was browsing in the thrift store. Who wore the slip? What was her story? When I’m working on a photogram, I try to visualize the person who wore the garment. I generally don’t see faces, but rather fleeting images of torsos and limbs against various backdrops; simple or elaborate, seductive or domestic, light or dark. In truth though, the garment and the light do the important work in the darkroom. They tell the story, while I simply move things around. I often spend fifteen or twenty minutes repositioning a garment on the paper, adjusting and repeating as necessary. If I’m printing on the counter, I’ll climb up as high as I can to get a birds eye view. If I’m printing on the floor I’ll crawl and walk around. While it might be easier if I had more light to see what I was doing, that would also take a lot of the fun out of it. Anticipation has always been one of my favorite things about the darkroom.
The simplicity of my photograms allows the viewer to find their own story, be it politics, feminism, gender, sexuality, body-image, materialism, culture, economy, history, family or simply nostalgia. To me, they’re first and foremost, a reminder to always try to see things in a different light. They aren’t just garments. There is always a story behind them.