Monday, September 21, 2015

Elizabeth Fleming

Elizabeth Fleming (b. 1975 in Philadelphia, PA) is a photographer whose primary artistic focus explores memory, a sense of longing and mystery within the everyday, and how nostalgia informs perceptions of the world. She is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis and the School of Visual Arts in New York City, earning both her BFA and MFA in photography. Her work has been exhibited widely, including shows at Hous Projects in New York City, The Photographic Resource Center in Boston and the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Awards include an Honorable Mention in Blurb’s Photography.Book.Now competition, an Artists’ ShowCase Award from The Center for Fine Art Photography in Fort Collins, CO, and second place in Photo Center NW’s 15th annual juried show in Seattle. Her images have been published in Lens on Life: Documenting Your World Through Photography, Fraction magazine, and Foam Magazine’s Book of Beds, among others. She lives with her husband, commercial photographer James Worrell, and their two daughters Edie (11) and June (8) in Maplewood, NJ.

Artist Statement

Buried on Her 90th Birthday focuses on the house and land in Iowa where my grandparents lived for 61 years. When I was younger our visits from the East Coast to the Midwest were tinged with a feeling of wonder—to me the surroundings were a museum of sorts, which gave me both a feeling of comfort and constancy while also inspiring a particular sadness in the knowledge that nothing can last forever. Because of this I formed a strong sense of nostalgia and a fascination with the significance of homes and objects, concepts that have found their way into much of my artistic practice over time.

While I had taken photographs of their house for years, it wasn’t until my grandfather died in 2008 that my image-making became that much more centered around the idea of material things as totems, along with the notion that what people leave behind might be able to give a deeper glimpse into who they were while alive. When my grandmother died in 2012 these concepts came even more fully to the fore as my family and I gathered to go through and divide up her possessions. I intensively documented what she and my grandfather had accumulated over a lifetime and the spaces they had inhabited, all the while thinking about my lineage: the items passed down through generations, the sense of history in so much of what she and my grandfather kept, and how the seemingly unimportant becomes precious and even fascinating following death.

Four months after she passed away my grandmother was buried on what would have been her 90th birthday. I understood then that in many ways this is a series I always knew I would make. From the beginning I was looking ahead to the day when my grandparents would no longer be there to add their presence to the rooms they had lived in for so many years, and ultimately making these images has been my attempt to hold on something that is now, inevitably, ephemeral.

1 comment:

  1. Love these photos, the story and the person behind the camera.