Can you make hair? Monochrome

Artist’s statement

My work as an artist is about the lives of others. The human portrait is an intimate format, a shared choreography between the subject and the photographer. The relationship between the two is fluid, and the images created during that interaction become a record of collaboration.

After being diagnosed with lymphoma, I underwent months of chemotherapy. My body changed. I lost my hair. Alone at home I examined my physical self, a person I no longer recognized. Experiencing a profound loss of identity, I used household materials and gifted “heads” (my word for wigs) made by supporters to augment my appearance. I then pointed the camera at myself, and, in a sense, became my own collaborator. 

The color-turned-monochrome images are inspired by vintage fashion photography. By taking on the roles of both agent and object I realize momentary self-constructions for the camera based on my experience with cancer. Theatricality and performance offer me the freedom to bring internal conflicts to the surface in the form of alternate selves.

These performative identities have no history or future, they live briefly for a few second before the lens. They are recorded digitally, posted online, printed on paper, or transferred to layers of transparent fabric that hang like laundry.

My goal for the project is to bring it to other cancer patients and show them there are myriad ways of dealing with loss. The project falls within an expressive modality that allows for experimentation, creativity, communication and ultimately, healing.