brittanyvchavez

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Month: March, 2012

Memory

*More phone images. Top is my latest photo piece installed in the hallway, bottom is a note which relates to said piece. More about this project soon. The text reads: “I feel like kind of a hack for making work about memory when I am only 20 years old.”

Lately

Sleep. Before bed. Just the orb light turned on. Decided to take this photo to send to Steele since we weren’t spending the night together.

Sunrise. My alarm went off at 7:45 and every time I got up to snooze it I would run to the window and check on the sunrise. At this point the sun coming through the window was so beautiful I deliriously had to capture it somehow.

Powells. My punch card had 12 punches, so I got a free chai tea latte before catching the bus up to school.

Glass-Plate. A glass plate positive straight from the fixer. Has little bubbles that look like scattered stars.

Keys. I got to drive Ali’s car and holding keys in my hand makes me feel so put together. Like I know what I’m doing.

Pretzels. Fuel for 7.5 hour shift at the front desk. And a water jar.

Skylight. One of the reasons I love these old buildings.

Sunset. The light coming through the stained glass in the computer lab. So beautiful and striking. A scramble to capture this, too.

The viewfinder is open. The light on the ground glass shows my face reflected in my bathroom mirror, the braids wrapped around my head fuzzy with a nights sleep. When I look into the ground glass, my lashes are shadowed down. It is impossible to look into my own eyes this way. I know when I look into the lens reflected into the mirror I am looking directly into the viewer’s eyes. So I look at my own reflection and snap the shutter open with a click. The film winds with a lagging click. Another snap. Another wind. I close the viewfinder. For the moment, I am done looking into a mirror.

(This was written in response to taking the photo above. There are three photos from this little session and I think they are some of my favorite photographs that I’ve taken. They mean a lot to me. You will be seeing more of them, they belong in many different variations, together and apart. For now have this and the promise of seeing more later.)

An essay on Shadows

This afternoon I walked out onto the balcony. The sun was low and there were sharp shadows on everything, and it occurred to me that the shadowed areas didn’t exist. That shadows are the void. So that the only way any form can ever be understood is by the absence of matter which wraps around it a certain way, depending on the light.

I threw an orange slice into the clover field below the balcony. I used my whole body so the peel went up in the air, a large arc, before hitting the ground. It fell into a shadowed area, and so for this moment it does not exist. But when it was in the air it crossed the path of the sun. For a moment, it lit up, it was aflame. Then it fell, gracefully, into non-being.

For now the sun sits above the trees, but it is sinking. More things are being covered in shadows. They are hidden and so they do not enter our minds. For instance, I recall a moment looked backwards at a girl in the backseat of a car. Her eyes are being lit up by the sun, always the sun, and the green of them is so transparent I feel like I am looking into the clearest river water. The kind of water that leaves the stones at the bottom up for inspection—every crack and spot perfectly visible. The car moved forward, the moment passed. And not once did I spare a thought for the shadow that must have been wrapping around her cheek. It did not occur to me to spend anytime tracing the lines of the shadow.

Now I am sitting on the balcony still. I look down into the clover field and I see a pockmarked skin of light and dark. I can imagine my hands reaching into a patch of sun and pulling up the clovers. They would be dark and spongy and alive.

But I haven’t given any thought to the shadowed clovers. Light has removed me from them, and now they are an abstract idea, a line I know is there. I can only remember them the way I remember my bedroom during a day at school: as I last saw it.

From a letter (to Alishya)

I could describe my life to you in little moments, like:

I am walking home in the middle of the street. It is wet. It is so wet. I have to cross a large road to get home. I could go under it, but I go across. The first side is easy, no one is coming, I pass calmly. Now I am here, on a median about two feet wide, and there are cars coming. I pause. Cars pass. 45 mph? 50 mph? And as a truck sprays road water in a mist around me, it occurs to me that I have made myself intimate with the speed at which it would take to be killed.

And I pass. And I am walking up a sidewalk vines on the side of me, dry leaves rewetted on the ground. About to open the gate, wondering would it be better to come home to an empty house or a house thats already been filled. And the acknowledgment, that I won’t know until I open the gate, turn the corner

Turn the corner and see

And see the lights on. And it is better to come home to a full house, after all.