The impetus for Defining You came to me in therapy. As might be expected, the recurring themes in these sessions had to do with childhood experiences. Specifically, the cultural baggage that came with being raised in a traditional Mexican family in which sharing your feelings and personal thoughts with a total stranger were frowned upon. This realization, and my need to confront the personal challenges it presented, moved me to explore the dialogue between past and present.
After several trials and errors, it felt most natural to address this dialogue by weaving studio portraits of those close and dear to me with childhood “photo album” selections of their own, that speak to formative experiences or that simply conjure memories they’d like to relive. I then created a single collage with each subject’s “album” selections and hand wove these around their respective portraits in intricate patterns. I wanted to create a unique pattern for each photograph as a nod to the fact that each individual’s DNA structure has a unique design of its own – in much the same way that childhood experiences inform equally distinct and complex personal identities.
With the weaving of formative childhood memories into the studio portraits, my objective will be not only to explore identity and how memory or life experience informs stated identity – but dually to impress on the spectator the role of memory, good and bad.