Michelle Rogers Pritzl

Location: Brooktondale, NY, United States

Not Waving But Drowning is a look inside an Evangelical marriage. These images show the truth of a life lived in the confines of oppressive gender roles, cult-like manipulation, and the isolation of Fundamentalism.

Each image is equivalence for the unseen, for the reality behind facade. Despite the smiles and appearance of perfection, Complementarianism is an abusive system in which a wife serves her husband as a helpmeet, remains silent, and prays for her spouse to become a better man.

I use self-portraiture to share my own experience within the Fundamentalist Lifestyle without being explicitly autobiographical. My chosen medium of collodion used with contemporary digital media represents the outdated behaviors and rules imposed on women by Fundamentalism.

The image titles come from The Awakening by Kate Chopin and are sequenced by their titles’ place within the story. Unlike Mrs. Pontellier, I choose to thrive in my freedom. I seek to unmask, to reveal truth. Growing up in Fundamentalist Christianity, I endured the cognitive dissonance of wearing the smiling facade to mask the oppressive truth. By unmasking that truth, I set myself free from the burden of my silence. This is my protest. I will no longer be silent. I choose to live.

It Broke Like a Mournful Lullaby

Her Condition

The Distant Restless Water

A Dull Pang of Regret

The Years That are Gone Seem Like Dreams

No One Thing in the World

Its Soft Close Embrace

The Shore Was Far Behind

Whispering Clamoring Murmuring

The Hum of Bees

It Broke Like a Mournful Lullaby

Her Condition

The Distant Restless Water

A Dull Pang of Regret

The Years That are Gone Seem Like Dreams

No One Thing in the World

Its Soft Close Embrace

The Shore Was Far Behind

Whispering Clamoring Murmuring

The Hum of Bees