Woman Crush Wednesday: Jill Beth Hannes
Photographs by Jill Beth Hannes | Interview by Agnes Bae
“This is a series on giving up. These are self-portraits of a woman who has lost herself. Lost herself in motherhood. Lost herself in marriage. Lost herself as a daughter. Lost herself as a friend. This is a portrait of choosing to give up what she thought she wanted and took the road that she didn't think was open for her. Giving up is a hard thing to do, this project is about learning that it's okay to need to begin again.
I took these photographs during my drive from California to North Carolina. The past few years had beat me down and I was too tired to keep treading water. I made one of the hardest choices of my life and decided to give up what I had built, what I had thought I wanted for so long for something new.
We learn from each others stories. I hope my story can make someone else feel less alone.”
What inspired you to make the series "Going Home?"
This project was inspired by the past few years of constant change in my life. When my husband and I decided that we were going to leave Los Angeles I knew that I had to create a series about leaving the life I thought I wanted and going towards a new chapter. A lot of my work stems from personal experience and being able to photograph this series was hugely important to my work as a whole.
It seems like theatricality or acting was a component in shooting this series, how important was this aspect to you?
There is an acting component to shooting my work. It helps draw a line from being photographs of myself to photographs of an idea.
You talk about defeat as being one of the central themes behind this work, and relate it to a female experience in many ways, you talk about motherhood, marriage, a relationship between mother-daughter--can you talk a bit more about the influence of gender roles in this work if it applies?
I think when I became a mother the suffocation of gender roles really had a toll on me. Women are expected to juggle a multitude of roles. I was finding on social media women saying how they work, take care of the baby, have a girl squad, and are a #girlboss. I just felt like I was failing. However, why do women have to “do it all.” I can’t do it all and that’s okay. I need help. I need a lot of support to get everything done around me. I tried to restructure that into something powerful. That being vulnerable is being strong.
Could you discuss your personal journey from California to NC and how it relates to "Going Home?"
I have lived all over. I never really had a “home base” I just felt like I was constantly drifting. When we decided to relocate to North Carolina this feeling of peace came over me and I felt grounded and safe. Home, in my mind, should make you feel that way.
Describe your creative process in one word.
If you could teach a one-hour class on anything, what would it be?
I would teach a class on self-portraiture.
What was the last book or film that inspired you?
Wildlife directed by Paul Dano.
What is the most played song in your library?
”Whatever You Do” by Brandi Carlile.
How do you take your coffee?
With almond milk.