ND STEPHANIE BRUNIA
STEPHANIE BRUNIA // Thursday’s Child
My father and I were both born on Thursdays. He finds particular significance in these sorts of details. I view them as indistinct legacies--far less significant than the genetic one we share, but a subtly parallel path nonetheless. Perhaps the only significance of this trivia is that we both have tried to imbue it with meaning--to make it somehow consequential--this arbitrary fact that came at the beginning of both our stories. Conceivably this is how love works. We place enough mutual faith in our desire for connection that we elevate these circumstantial strands in an effort to cinch the knots that bind us. Our stories become so intertwined that at times it is hard to distinguish the self and the other.
My story has only ever included my father. He has been an undeniable fact from the start--his existence seemingly as concrete and fundamental to my world as the laws of physics. I was fortunate that in my youth my father willingly took on the role of providing for my care, firmly cementing his position within the bedrock of my understanding of self. However, the undeniable nature of time means that the accumulation of years has begun to show. Small changes creep in--their presence a reminder that our beginnings and endings will, in all likelihood, mirror one another: his life beginning without me; my life ending without him.
My father's end is by no means imminent, however, our relationship is clearly facing transition. In an attempt to see (and ultimately to understand) these weighty and largely indiscernible moments, I have turned to photography. At the core of these portraits is my desire to stave off his inevitable decline. Yet this desire, in itself, in incorporeal. In order to visualize these intangibles through photography--a medium that can only deal with physical bodies in concrete spaces--I find myself performing futile gestures for the camera. The futility of these attempts means I often repeat the same gestures--ones of shrouding, erasing, gazing and tracing--as if hoping for a different outcome. In this work, his flesh is my flesh; and in his finitude, I face my own.