artist statement | 142 days

rachel brace-stille

Byron Wolfe, a photography professor, gave himself an assignment that provided structure, and at the same time freedom to shoot any subject matter that caught his attention. His aim was to shoot images creating one powerful image representing each day of the year. This notion became the basis for my project this term. My goal was to shoot 20-60 photographs for 142 days of the term; looking for that one image that would catch my eye. This was my challenge to shoot continuously throughout the term letting go of control, while creating my images. I recognized my need to leave behind the way my pinhole camera views the world and my internal process of self-editing. I began to take risks to discover what my photographs would reveal. 

I found that my work brought to light some important issues. As expected, I am drawn to creating images of my family. This new work extends to close friends and children. While writing my second paper I did some research on Wendy Ewald. Her process of collaboration with children is of great interest to me. Working with children and communities, she treats them with respect, creating a safe learning environment. She values their perspectives and supports them in developing their voice.

Unexpectedly my photos exposed other themes; images that uncovered a sense of place and quiet landscapes. Some of these images were not focused, they were softy blurred and created an atmosphere that reminded me of a place and time, like a song playing on the radio. Other images began to unveil the tiny details of childhood memories. 

I am learning to understand what compels me to create my images. I am learning to let go of preconceived rules and control; to shoot, shoot, shoot, and to work more intuitively. By developing a new approach to create images, and by better understanding the balance between the photographer and subject, I hope to create images that do not reveal a truth, but rather reflect my personal reality. In this process, what is important is what emerges from the body of images that I have captured, and then sequencing these images together to create a sense of my family and my life.