After working through Flora Obscura, I began this sister series. As in previous work, my process of creating was very intuitive-- experimenting with my camera, capturing what seemed interesting or beautiful or worthwhile in each moment. I worked on the series slowly for over a year, even abandoning it for several months because I couldn't make sense of it. During that time, I was facing personal battles and realized how difficult it was for others to recognize my struggle and the impact it was having on my life. It occurred to me how very nearly impossible it is for us to truly understand one another, even with empathy and best intentions.
With this insight, suddenly the series made sense; I now saw it full of grace and sadness, the contradictions I felt in my attempt to balance pain with gratitude in my own relationships. Many of the titles are taken from R.E.M.'s "Half a World Away." I had selected to incorporate this song when I began the series without quite knowing why; again, intuitively, it felt appropriate. After discovering the direction of the work, the song seems serendipitously meaningful, addressing the delicate sadness of longing, being distanced from others, the loneliness and the separation.
The series speaks to the beauty of our relationships while simultaneously addressing the unavoidable schisms between us, the flawed perspectives, the heartache of the ungraspable, the way in which our perception is characteristically skewed and distorted by our human experience. The images yield to the thin veil that exists between us, allowing us to understand and yet never completely understand one another.
Up until this collection, all of my photographs had been taken on my own property, but the images in this series were taken elsewhere, so I immediately dubbed it Understanding Others, which turned out to be a fortuitous title. As before, the effects were produced in-camera using various techniques, embracing technical flaws in the final images including noise, hotspots, chromatic aberrations, foreground obstructions, and gradient banding. This series was created and completed between 2017-2018.
(For information on purchasing images from this series or for a showing in your gallery or space, please contact Naomi.)