Jessica Somers : Bend So Not to Break
Jessica Somers is a photographer specializing in historic photographic techniques and self-portraiture. Her interest in photography began at a young age by her grandfather's side as he took thousands of photographs and with the invitation into her parents' late night printing sessions that were held in the bathroom which was transformed into a darkroom after sunset.
The process of making each photograph is very personal, not only because of my connection with the image or the range of individual prop-symbols found within each photograph but with the slow, meditative process of taking the photograph. This is especially the case when I put myself in front of the camera. The scene is "previsualized" but, since I use no mirrors to check my positioning, the poses are unique to the moment. Often, while waiting for the shutter to trigger, I am drawn into a meditative state allowing the emotions conveyed in each portrait to fully form from within.
The images are presented as Ziatype prints on salted cotton paper, printed approximately 8x10 to maintain an intimacy and preciousness within the photograph. The film used to create the images was not cleared of chemical residue allowing for serendipitous surface marks. Much like the uncontrollable circumstances illustrated in my photographs the chemical residue is uncontrollable and creates a veil between subject and viewer inviting a dream-like interpretation to each unique print.
Through the personal exploration of photographing the self I am finding that even within moments of uncertainty lay happiness, abounding love and the achingly beautiful realizations of sacred and finite human life.
Issue #35 June - July 2009
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