I am in the process of making the most honest work thus far in my career. Today was the first time it has been critiqued by eyes other than my own. Four different people, four different opinions, yet one word came up multiple times: loneliness. I hadn’t viewed Vacationland as lonely work up until this point, though I was alone while making it.
A friend sent me a link to an article from The New Yorker titled Loneliness Belongs to the Photographer. If you don’t have the time to read it, I’ll provide some of the key quotes below.
“To be a photographer is to willingly enter the world of the lonely, because it is an artistic exercise in invisibility.”
“In reality, though, the person with the camera is not hiding but receding.”
“…the photographer moves through the world, our world, hoping for anonymity, hoping she is able to humble herself enough to see and record what the rest of us—in our noisy perambulations, in our requests to be heard—are too present to our own selves to ever see.”
“To practice this art [photography] requires first a commitment to self-erasure.”
My new work is about growing up. It is a timeline of the loss of my innocence, my own personal (hopefully relatable) ascent into adulthood. While others were present along the way, this journey is inevitably one of solitude, moments in time burned into my brain, my stories, my past experiences from the beginning of me to where I currently exist: twenty-two, single, white, female, artist.
One of my current mentors looked at the book and said, “With each page new layers are revealed, journeys within journeys leading to a bittersweet ending”. This was reassuring to me. No different than the rest of my work, I feared that Vacationland may be too personal, unrelatable and unattainable to a general audience.
Though it is still a work in progress, I’ve included some screenshots below. My goal is to have the book printed and for sale by the beginning of November (information on pricing and purchasing to come).
“Writing is often assumed to be the loneliest profession, but solitude should not be confused for loneliness: one is a condition we choose, the other is a condition that is forced upon us.”