We look to this showcase as an opportunity to partake in a conversation with women in photography. DCCP has been a venue for discourse around emerging photographers and modes of lens based media. The photographic field is at a moment in which both the platform and the technologies of the medium are in constant flux. How do we stay current when yesterday’s conversations and technologies are usurped by tomorrow’s innovations?

Societal shifts are seeping into the global photographers pool— bringing more women to the photographic center-stage. Women centric galleries and arts organizations around the world are highlighting the work of female photographers.

This showcase is the first in a series that brings curations by women of female photographers in an effort to strengthen dialogue surrounding women in photography. What is unique to the female eye—both behind the lens and in front of the image?

In curating this showcase the conversation circled around the idea of rebirth. Not reincarnation, but one’s continuous cycles of birth and death throughout a lifetime. It was proposed that each time an individual underwent an emotional, physical, or psychological change (to name only a few) they were—in essence— reborn anew. The consensus was that this would require a state of perpetual presentness and self awareness—a state rather difficult to maintain in most of our lives. It is hard to deny that, intrinsically, individuals are forever in flux. The images showcased here reflect on those relational shifts that force us to reevaluate identity in the face of love, motherhood, aging, and childhood as places that are fleeting and full.

In various ways Rachel Hulin, Heather Evans Smith, Laura Stevens, and Marna Clark each explore the shifting ground of one’s identity through the relationship one has to one’s self at the dawn of parenthood, adulthood, and through the gain and loss of love.

We have kept each artist’s portfolio intact—to be viewed in relation to one another as a thread of concise moments of reflection. Each of these four portfolios delve deeply into the emotional and psychological territory of an intimate search for understanding.

— Kottie Gaydos
Curator & Director of Operations 
Detroit Center for Contemporary Photography

Rachel Hulin
Thirty-Five and One
The Short Days and the Long

Why does time start to move faster? Have the physicists figured it out? Is it because we are more familiar with our surroundings and therefore imprint fewer memories? Now my daughter is one and I am thirty-five. She is in long days, and I am in short.
This series of images travels from repose to repose. My palette draws from my own visual references of nostalgia. I’ve always been transfixed by the Baroque period’s rich reds in nudes and portraiture, and of Flemish depictions of mothers and children. I’ve found the red everywhere— in the roses on my table, and the fabric of my bathrobe.
My other color reference is Technicolor, which has been a visual reference of mine since The Wizard of Oz, which for me distills youth and film and beauty and possibilities. Repeating reds and whites, blooming flowers on the solstice, the taste of a first peach, cherry blossoms on the street; this series is for Rose, and for me.

Heather Evans Smith
Seen Not Heard

For the past few years I have been creating images to express the emotions of motherhood. My daughter has never been included in those images. But as she has grown from a baby into a force of nature all her own, I was drawn to pull her into my world of conceptual photography and explore our relationship during a time when emotions of love, stress and confusion are high.
Seen Not Heard takes its title from the Old English adage “To Be Seen and Not Heard”, a term often thrown about in reference to the desired behavior of children. These images are silent, but they create a voluble visual narrative on the relationship between parent and child. They explore the cycles that are passed down through generations and the tension between keeping to what is known and forging a newer, and perhaps stronger, path. As strong as the close, forever bond between mother and daughter is, there also exists a distance inherent between two different individuals.

Laura Stevens
Another November

Following the ending of a significant relationship in my life, an undoing began. Whilst adjusting to being a single woman, I started to create a photographic narrative based on the experience of losing love; directing other women to portray the gradual emotional and circumstantial stages, along the well-trodden track of the broken-hearted.
By constructing images of the evolving chapters, I was allowed a vantage point from which to view the changes occurring in me, from feelings of pain, confusion and loneliness towards the reconstruction of my identity as an individual.
The series of staged performances by different women, of whom are friends or those I had been drawn to from the street, are enacted to show an intimate moment of adjustment. They are seen isolated, surrounded by textures, colour and empty spaces in a room of their home in Paris.
Another November is situated in a deliberately nostalgic present where memories are constructed and irrevocably discolour, looking back to a past not yet acquainted with loss. Yet, it is a reminder that time, the arranger of all things, moves only in one direction.

Marna Clark
You’re Not Getting Any Younger

I met Igor just as I turned 62 and he turned 73. A year later I moved in with him, two years later I sold my house, three years later he bought me a digital camera and told me to get back to work. He is an architect and painter. I had been a photographer but had hit a wall and stopped taking pictures for 12 years. In 2010 at 70, I turned the camera on myself. I wanted to see how the years had treated me. I wrote daily about memories and fears and fantasies and dreams. I photographed Igor. I dug into pictures of my past and his. I wanted to chronicle a precious time in my life. As I began editing the images, I realized what was emerging was a visual memoir of the two of us.