My father had a career in filmography. This meant I was always in front of or around a camera. From a very young age the camera always fascinated me. Especially how you can use it to communicate your vision of the world. As I became older I became interested in the medium as a tool for my own artistic explorations. It was around this time that my life suddenly changed. My father committed suicide when I was fourteen years old. I had to leave my family, friends, and south Florida town behind to move in with my mother. Until the making of my senior show Sawgrass Sensations,I had not returned to my hometown for nine years. This series consists of six photographic prints with family photo transfers and linoleum printed on top. I wanted return to my old home to show what I loved about living there and integrate my memories through the medium of printmaking. I believe that, as adults, we all experience a loss relative to the place where we grew up. The town will inevitably undergo changes in size, population, progress or renovations. I left my hometown so quickly, and at such a young age, that I always felt like something was missing, something I could only find by coming back. I longed to be the person I was before I had to leave. There was the loss of my father but also the loss of myself. Through making this work I want share my story and move toward a future where I don’t have to keep looking back. I have come a long way in being able to talk about my past and I want to celebrate that journey and share the place that formed my childhood. I use 35mm and large format color film to capture my images in vibrant tropical color. I love the color quality that can be achieved through this process as well as the act of working with the camera itself. The film camera forces you to take more time to consider what you are looking at and focus wholly on your subject. I enjoy much in the same way the tedious process of printmaking. From cutting the plate to the press, so much attention to detail is involved in the process. It’s very satisfying to draw something and be able to reproduce that image potentially hundreds of times. Alternatively, being able to take a photo and manipulate it into a print can give the image new meaning. By combing the mediums of photography and printmaking I feel I am able to express the disconnect between the hometown I remember and the place it is now. This series represents the precious memories of my childhood and my family. The place where we are raised always has a special feeling. Whether it’s a painful feeling, one of joy or something in between, it is unlike any other place on earth. The bright colors of the photographs show the lush greenery and the beautiful sky of the Sunshine State. The prints depict the memories that I hold so dear and the plants and animals I have strong memories of. Sawgrass Sensations is a series that displays the beauty of my home and celebrates the memories that make it special to me.
Photography and printamking
© 2019 Ashley Blair, All Rights Reserved
Florida, loss, past, childhood, family, animals, plants, memory, love