In Absentia examines the power of absence. Throughout this series, scenes are created that resemble film stills which suggest that viewers are only seeing a clip of what is occurring in a longer narrative. We are frozen in time with the scene we are examining, and it is as if we are invading someone else’s story. This absence of not knowing allows us to dream and imagine what it is that is going on and it creates wonders and new stories that are only ours to tell. Using panoramas, my work looks at abandoned places and desolate spaces. Figures are used throughout to create ambiguous scenes that tell new stories.
Every place we encounter has an extensive history, but we never know the story in its entirety. Many footsteps walk across the same area and create their own tales—tales that no one else may ever know. Instead of wondering about the stories of the past amongst these areas, I go into these locations and form a new story on top of those that already exist in the space. In an environment with old furniture scattered around – radios that this generation wouldn’t even know how to use, chalkboards with words of encouragement for students, etc., I turn a place of abandonment into a place of intentionality. There are couches, tables, and magazines, but also a woman sitting on a couch in distress while in an old nighttime dress. In the absence of not knowing the stories beforehand, new stories are formed based on the environment.
A panoramic format is used throughout the series to expand the environment in every scene and create a cinematic vibe. Multiple photos are stitched together to produce a large image. Additionally, the figures throughout the series are all women, and they are both vulnerable and powerful because they are often alone, waiting. However, at the same time, they are standing their ground in an environment that lacks any other existence. I chose only to shoot women because throughout the world there are many tales about women being weak. However, there are numerous untold stories of powerful women, and just like these locations, these stories get deserted and hidden and we don’t know about them. Thus, I combined these places with different women to create stories for both, showcasing the power of the woman to exist in such an environment and to cause questioning. These women shouldn’t be in these locations—wooden train cars, schools, empty homes, barren land, but they invade and take over.
These cinematic photographs are full of ambiguity. The uncertainty behind each photograph resembles the obscurity of every location which causes an absence. From the locations being abandoned or empty, there is an absence of life, but, there is an absence of knowing as we don’t know what occurred, but we can suggest and formulate our own ideas. Stories are created in these images but there is an absence of an entire storyline, just enough for people to know there is a narrative. There is a mystery behind each photograph due to the uncertainty in each image. This absence creates speculations that can differ from one person to the next. Places that are unknown or forgotten can be remembered in a new way.