2018 CJL Finalist Claire Warden

 


Mimesis is grounded in issues of identity, the other and the psychology of knowledge and power. The creation of this series comes at a time when the struggle to accept the unfamiliar is pervasive in our culture. When looking at these images, the urge to ask “what is it?” echoes the question, “what are you?” – a question that has been directed towards me countless times and one that I find increasingly difficult to answer. Raised in a family with a diverse ethnic background has led me to reflect on the fluid, abstract nature of identity, which informs my use of photography.

In this series, I use a cameraless photographic process on negative film, which incorporates saliva and mark-making. The negatives are scanned and the final images are produced as large-scale pigment prints. I find this process to be uniquely qualified to address the biologic and socio-cultural forces that stimulate the emergence of an identity. This process produces a series of images that reveal certain truths in my experiences surrounding identity and simultaneously the inadequacies of language to describe oneself. Resembling systems of the natural sciences—microscopic, topographic and celestial—the photographs allegorize the complexity of systems that make up an individual and the perception of self.