Date of Award
Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
I am searching for a way to grieve someone I never knew. At age 26, I was lucky enough to meet the woman who would become my wife. We quickly discovered that there were many coincidences and connections that could be found when we examined our lives a little more closely – our parents shared a wedding anniversary, our fathers each had five siblings, Alice’s parents shared their names with my grandfather and his second wife (Walter and Joan). But what quickly became apparent to me were the links between Alice’s mother and my grandmother. Apart from photographs and memories shared by those who knew them, I would never know them. Both lives ended tragically young. Both died from genetic diseases.
Photographing, for me, is to write a metaphor. There are things unphotographable – how do you create an image of someone who died a quarter of a century ago, a person you have never known? In varying sizes and at varying heights, my photographs act as constellations within which relationships begin to form independently of the connections that I draw between them.
By searching for visual pleasures in the world around me using multiple formats of photography, I make visual the abstract histories that are known to me about Joan and Jean. Through examinations of heredity and meditation on coincidence and predetermination, I cling to what will inevitably be lost, trying to view grief not as something that passes, but something we are always in the midst of.
Handley-Byrne, Keavy, "Amor fati" (2020). Masters Theses. 495.
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