We first discovered this work after it was submitted to the Exposure Awards 2014. Although it was not chosen as a finalist by the jury, the editors of LensCulture were impressed and decided to publish this feature article about it. Enjoy!

For over a decade, Sewn has taken shape from altered, chopped, merged, and recomposed photographs. Excerpted from three separate series within the overall concept, this selection touches on highlights from “Missing,” “Picture Day,” and “Remember.”

By engaging with the photography in this way, I create work that deals with the notions of truth in photography and its impact on identity. Using family photographs and those from my family’s past albums as material for the work, the resulting imagery tells a “new truth” with reimagined memories, situations, and experiences.

Sewn expands this notion by incorporating mixed media elements to expand the work to a new realm, to create objects that come off the wall and have their own experiences. I cut out, obliterate, and cover up elements of an image to draw attention to what is missing, what may have changed, or what needs to be considered. Pieces are sewn together and dyed to congeal the elements and ideas together. Thread binds the content. Dye binds the colors. Past and present collide.

Memories are colored by the past, guided by the images burned in our brains. True feelings emerge and break through the expected parameters of vernacular imagery. The pieces in this work are purposefully raw and unrefined, recalling the impulsive and rough nature of childhood. This process is intended to jar the viewer and call into question our history through memory and as photographic document.

—Liz Stetekee