I Looked to the Heavens and Was Struck by an Overwhelming Feeling of Fear

For many people, religion is of interest because it can give them a sense of certainty, a “higher power” that they can always depend on. For myself, attending Catholic school from preschool to high school had the opposite effect. My experiences there challenged and negatively affected my view of my own femininity, sexuality, and individuality, essentially altering my certainty of my own identity. The church became this dark object that loomed over my life.

In order to explore and convey my feelings in a more concrete way, I began photographing churches using 4x5” film. Whether religious or not, a church is an image that is recognizable to most people, so I set out to distort this distinguishable image that churches portray. I approached these buildings from below, angling upwards to emphasize the overbearingness of these institutions. Then by using chemicals and other methods to remove emulsion from the negative, certain parts became indecipherable, leaving the subject matter no longer recognizable. As a result, the viewer loses their certainty in what they thought they knew.

Throughout the time spent dealing with these feelings and translating them into images, it became evident that the process of distressing the negatives and prints was a physical manifestation of removing myself from the church and removing the uncertainty that it instilled in me.   

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