Transformations (Fighting the currents)
Transformations is a series of diptychs that explores the relationship between my identity and the marine ecosystem.
During my daily swim, I became occupied with the changes I saw happening before me with the deterioration of coral reefs that were once alive. At the same time I was finding solace through the amorphous quality and weightlessness of my body in the water. I decided to take my camera into the water to document the interplay between the seascape and my body.
In the sea, as a woman who identifies as other, my body becomes displaced from my everyday experiences. Gender, race, and class are dissolved because there are no social and political constructs to restrain and dictate my identity. These constructs have no place or value in that environment. This idea creates the foundation for these portraits.
Most people's experience with the sea occurs at eye level with the horizon and they are oblivious to what is happening below the surface. I am interested in the notion that "just because you can’t see something doesn’t mean it isn’t there". Underwater, I am alien and unable to survive without gear. I explore this limitation by holding my breath and submerging for short periods of time to capture each image. The marine organisms I document have been shot in the same location over a span of two years in tandem with my own body. My intention was to investigate the changes occurring both within and without myself, as well as how our own actions affect our immediate environment over time.
I created these transfigured portraits by using collage techniques to bring together self-portraiture and my documentation of marine organisms. Each portrait brings together two separate entities: the body and various marine animals. By juxtaposing these images with a space in between them, each portrait is on the cusp of becoming a single image.
This space represents a transient moment where I am regaining buoyancy and separating from the underwater environment to resurface. My intention with these photographs is to create a lasting breath that defies human limitation. The transformation exists within the space in between photographs. It is in this moment that the viewer makes the decision if both worlds are able to separate or merge.