Woman Crush Wednesday: Rachel Jump
Origins is an emotional recollection of my personal history, where I use the camera to recreate my most potent memories experienced with my family. They reflect a present interpretation of preceding events— a myth conjured from my truth. My photographs describe to the malleable nature of memory, and my attempt to highlight the emotional distance we previously endured. The resulting narrative marks an attempt to demonstrate my longing for familial intimacy and reconciliation. This is a collaboration amongst loved ones: a willingness to empathize with one another, share our personal experiences, renegotiate interpersonal strife, and outwardly demonstrate our underlying affection for one another.
Interview by Agnes Bae
You talk about the malleable nature of memory in your artist statement, in what ways did you try and portray photographically the idea of a malleable memory?
Black and white film references the history of photography, and as a result, conjures feelings of nostalgia. I am interested in using this antiquated medium in a contemporary context. I am drawn to making black and white photographs in an effort to blur the lines between truth and fiction, but to also transcend the concept of time. With Origins, I interweave photographs inspired by my own experiences with images that were generated from a more instinctive and emotional space. The resulting non-linear narrative raises questions about the fallibility of memory, and how our recollection of events shifts over time.
Could you talk about the collaborative experience of creating these images with your family? Many of them aren't traditional portraits but seem like surreal snapshots of a dream-sequence. How did you direct them, if at all?
I solely use a 4x5 view camera because it facilitates a process that is highly collaborative. I am rarely stationed behind the camera— I am observing, directing, or speaking with my family members while I compose the image. Some of my images are inspired by previous events, or by a candid gesture or facial expression. Using a view camera is a very intense and meditative process, and I believe this method elevates the ethereal nature of my work. I purposefully craft images in a way that the characters become emotionally synonymous. I feel like this body of work is a collective self-portrait— each character in this project contributes to a collaborative and familial story.
This is a very personal project and I am curious about how it affected you afterwards. Was it therapeutic in any way?
The making of this project has been deeply cathartic— I believe my family and I have gotten much closer through their participation in my photographic practice, and that we are able to empathize with one another. My grandfather once expressed that my images were challenging, because they encourage the viewer to reflect upon their personal family dynamics. He also pointed out that it was therapeutic and necessary for my family to invest emotionally in the work—to allow themselves to feel vulnerable while experiencing my photographs.
Describe your creative process in one word.
If you could teach a one-hour class on anything, what would it be?
The history of self-portraiture in art.
What was the last book or film that inspired you?
What is the most played song in your library?
I’m currently listening to Solange’s newest album “When I Get Home.”
How do you take your coffee?
No coffee—just tea.