Photo Journal Monday: Marisa Chafetz
Photography and writing by Marisa Chafetz
Interview by Xinxin Zhang
We Are Ugly But We Have The Music
“I had an idyllic upbringing, I grew up in a commune of sorts, with three moms and three dads, and seven brothers and sisters. Our story is serendipitous, unlikely, and beautiful. I relive my memories like reading a novel, as if our past might still be taking place in the present in some alternate universe. In recent years, our family has fallen apart in monumental ways. We mourned losses one after another, as if the tragic momentum was unstoppable. I grew up knowing that falling backwards would mean two dozen hands, outstretched to catch me, and suddenly falling means descending into cold, empty air.
This work is my attempt to understand what is left. My childhood meant knowing, it meant being sure. Now, right in the thick of it, I’m still staring out at what feels like a sea of uncertainty and change. If my childhood was easy to know, a series of stories so magnificent, they sound like fiction- how can I understand my family’s present: often full of heartache, loneliness, and banality? What is the reality of what we are now, after our fall from grace?”
Find out more about Marisa here.
Photo Journal Interview
1. What is your motivation to make your genre of photographic art?
I don’t have an un-selfish answer for this question. I am compelled to make art because it’s the way I have always made sense of existing.
2. How does your cultural background influence your art?
I’ve spent the last year working on two photo stories about jewish girls, so I suppose being jewish has affected my art at least a bit. However, despite the various European places my ancestors came from, I am a white American girl, and I am mostly making work about American coming of age, American family life, being a woman in America, etc. So more than anything, having “no” cultural background other than being American is what most influences me. The body of work that I am in the progressing of making right now confronts my whiteness more than I have before.
3. What is the most difficult thing you have experienced making photos?
The lag that exists between wanting to make photos of something but not yet understanding why.