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Parsons School of Design MFA Photography program theses2018 (PC020403.14) ➔ Excavation


Related people/organizations

Maryanne Braine (photographer)
Parsons School of Design. Photography Department. (sponsoring body)




The material search, rejection, and redefinition of the female self through physical and material
disruption of photographic representations

I begin
Pasting images one on top of another
Seeing the repetition of my own partially clothed form.
One on top of another

Laying down a print
Seeing what I believe to be a representation of me. Myself in a physical form and seemingly

Seeing this I recognize a disconnect. Between what I am seeing and what I am feeling internally.
I instantly begin to pick apart the image:
That’s not how my body truly appears!
Not inside my own head…
My own head paints a dysmorphic picture of the vessel I embody.
My hips much too wide, my breasts too small, torso too stout.

I see these representations of my body, poking and prodding and I begin to want to disassociate myself from the images before me.

I recognize the way my body is viewed. It is seen as idealized and perhaps to some a glorified depiction of femininity. This is not the way I want to be seen either. I do not feel aligned with this picture of myself.

I do not feel comfortable with so many traits deemed feminine.
I am not graceful, nor am I light.

In an attempt to break out and apart from this I begin to tear some of these depictions in half with the hope that the more fragmented my body is the less these notions can be placed upon me.

I lay a full image of my body down and paint on coats of semi-translucent layer after layer, until there is a thick fog between my ‘representation’ and me.

Then I let it sit.

For hours.

I return
I turn my representation facedown on the table
All that is visible now is white paper
Staring back at me.

This is when I begin to scratch,
to rub,
to rip,
to peel
until I begin to see color emerge again.
I feel anxious and inquisitive
I’m looking for something, but what?
I am trying to sort through this imagery of myself
How I want to be seen and viewed

I keep scratching at the surface of the paper
Until pieces of my body are visible

Clear peeks at these isolated parts begin to come through
While the rest of the body remains covered in a haze of paper.

I sit. I think.

Is this body read as feminine?
Is this body read as sexual?
Is this body really me?
Have I rearranged ‘myself’ enough to shift this conversation?

More questions arise than answers.

I turn the piece over and see the other hazy side of myself
I begin the process again
Pasting new paper layers upon layers
Just to peel them back again

Then I sit.



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