Location: Pacifica, CA, United States
The Other Stories
My dad is a skilled photoengraver. My grandfather gave me his 1952 Hasselblad when I started making pictures. My great-grandfather photographed our family and labor movements. So, when I published my first monograph last year, it felt like inheritance fulfilled.
But what else does one inherit from their family? Is it only the positive stories worth repeating? Down the same lineage, I inherited my great-grandfather’s photographic archive, ~2000 negatives ranging from ~1900 to ~1960. About half of the archive is sequenced and documented; the “approved” story. My great-grandfather was working on a book when he passed in 1984. The other half was left maligned; randomly tossed into envelopes -- no discernible narrative.
George Bratt, my great-grandfather and creator of these photos, was a self-described poet, creator, and labor champion. He’s largely accepted this way by the family as a true patriarch. Growing up apart from the extended family, I heard both these stories and the ones not often told, the other stories. My family grapples with a history of neglect and domestic and substance abuse which trace towards my great-grandfather. Restoring the archive, I wondered if the taboo stories are visible in the photographs and, if they are, what they might mean to me. Had I also inherited this darkness? What responsibility do I have to bear witness?
With “The Other Stories,” I’m exploring these questions. To do so, I’m using mixed media on top of the original photographs made by my great-grandfather. Utilizing tears, tape, glue and other techniques to combine and remix the photographs with ephemera from the archive itself, I’m attempting to conjure untold events which I was not direct witness to but that may have directly or indirectly affected my life. My goal isn’t to tell the specific stories themselves, but to open a conversation about the good and bad in families and what our individual truths as descendants may or may not be.
Collective or Agency Saint Lucy Represents