Shades in the Dust
She is mother now; mother as the figure that nurtures, the one that is wild and lost, the one that is sick and feeble and the one that is creative and vital. She becomes the idea of mother in his mind. She is a synthesis of the two mothers he had as a child: grandmother and mom. She toils, she listens, she speaks to him softly.
She is restless in the woods, her dress an echo and a siren. Her hands fumble with the past, her mind is anxious and calm in equal measure. The night glistens in her hands.
She never tires, she never seems to sleep.
She becomes part of the land, the leaves and the soil and the light. She splits and makes another image of herself. That fragment creates another aspect of itself, and another and then becomes a child. The child is a mirror of himself as much as these images of mother are. Mother has become nature, mother has transcended the past and has become it too. Mother is traveling on and becomes a shadow and a ghost. Mother is memory now.
The erosion of the landscape by human means irrevocably altered the habitat of the ivory-billed woodpecker. Actions like these have led to the implementation of systematic conservation methods. These methods, while helping to raise public awareness, have also led to a distortion of perceptions about endangered species.
Within this world of conservation, the act of observation stands apart for me. Bird watching is an action that is separate from intervention. It is the act of seeing that most intrigues me. As in photography, observation, not just seeing, helps us to understand the world we live in.
The acts of watching, archiving and remembering are critical in constructing this work as a meditation on the fragility of existence. Our memories are mutable, our experience subject to alteration. Like the ivory-billed woodpecker, our existence is constantly in peril. We live our lives under the threat of multiple existential problems.
The examination of the narrative of the ivory-billed woodpecker has exposed these philosophical concerns for me. Inside that story, our own existence and meaning is interwoven. The cyclical nature of our lives becomes more transparent in this context and the paradox of our actions clearer. For every problem we look for a solution and with that solution we create another set of obstructions.
Read my MFA thesis here: Scattered Feathers