Saturday, February 26, 2011

The art of photographing ancestors

Here are some anecdotes from my recent photo sessions for the project.

Many ladies told me they had horrible profiles, and some of them asked me to "shave a little off the neck."

One man turned down the photo and then later told me in the hallway that he would let me photograph him. When I arrived at his apartment, he wasn't there.

I was turned away from one apartment because of a bad hairdo. I'll be back!

When I arrived at one apartment, the wife answered the door half dressed. They were getting ready for a funeral and forgot I was coming. She kept saying "come in, come in." I politely declined.

One woman insisted on putting makeup on and a new sweater. She looked fabulous!

More stories to come, I'm sure.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Ethical Expression

What are the ethics of my expression? Do my modes of expression have any ethical baggage/meaning/weight? Ethics often is seen as referring to a positive state of being toward mankind. Things considered harmful can also be seen as unethical, but the definition of ethics seems more subjective. The definition I found for ethics was used in a sentence : The puritan ethic was being replaced by the hedonist ethic. Who is to say which ethic is really ethical?
Within the next week I will be thinking about my work in terms of ethics and how it relates to my life and where I work.

Friday, February 18, 2011

My Arty Valentine

These are some photos of entries into my sketchbook as well as some photos that help explain what keeps me from studio work!

Monday, February 14, 2011


I have started to receive my stories in the mail. This is the more exciting part of the project. I am thinking about how to display these stories with the profiles. I thought of either having them in a book for people to read, or actually having them in the envelopes at the exhibit for people to open themselves, reading them for the first time. The act of experiencing the story is important to the project and it would be nice to have people read the stories as part of viewing the work.
What do you think?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The project starts oficially tomorrow. I have about ten ancestors lined up for their profile picture. I found it difficult to set myself up to them, asking them to have their photo taken. One woman downright refused, saying "I like to be alone." Another woman laughed and said "I don't have a good profile." and another said "as long as I don't have to look at it...." For some background, I have worked at a retirement home for eight years. During this time I have met with many residents and become close to more than a few. The idea for this project came from these people in particular, but also includes family members, both immediate and distant.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Chinese ancestor worship emphasizes the influences of deceased relatives on the living. It is believed that these ancestors maintain an interest in family affairs after they have passed on. If the family members engage in the continual remembrance of their ancestors, they will be treated favorably by them from beyond the grave. Shrines are built in the home and ancestral tablets serve as stand ins for the loved one. The purpose of my project will be to bring to light the contributions that our ancestors have left us and continue to leave us. Instead of tablets, the ancestors will be represented by silhouettes and a book will accompany the installation with stories from the ancestors.