Jennifer Bronwynn Copp
Against Myself, Together I Stand:
I am an Artist, a Teacher and a Single Mother, all titles that I am proud to call myself. With all of these titles I bear the solo responsibility of telling our story (my daughter's and mine). I am her memory, guide and compass. Life moves quickly and the images that we make together are the times that we get to play and escape into our own world; my love for my daughter is infinite, and is chronicled by the images that we make together.
Truthfully I have really struggled over the years. I have done most everything in my life without money and shear determination. Whether it was driving across the country by myself for work, going to graduate school for photography or simply going it alone as a single parent. It is with a great sense of grit and hope that I have tried to approach most things with in my life.
I feel that at this moment that I am on the precipice of finding the work that I have been seeking to make my since I started. There is a calmness and playfulness that drives me now, a curiosity to keep exploring new things photographically.
The idea of working in separate panels stemmed from the struggle of having a wiggly small child and I wanting to find a way to get both of us in the photograph together. I wanted to make the photographs myself and did not want to, or could not afford to hire a photographer to do it for me. So I had to think about what I wanted in the photograph with us, and what the background was going to be like. The next question would be, “what will connect us and unite us visually”, then I would begin to construct my image in my head.
The introduction of multiple-selves into my current work began to materialize as I felt the burden of having to be multiple selves for my daughter. I have to be her protector, nurturer, fixer of broken toys and more. There are no breaks for the solo parent. I find myself simultaneously being several people at once on a daily basis. My daughter and I have created a small bubble that is the two of us alone.
The actual space of my photos is constructed, often due to the constraints of photographing in small spaces around my house or in quick shots taken with my daughter in our real daily life. The extension of panels, repeated visual space and simply flipped mirror images, helps to elongate the space around us, putting us further into the setting of my memory.
I am a single Mother, artist and teacher and all these things combined leave little time for the reflection on the immediate “now”, photography gives opportunity to my daughter and myself. Our journeys are full of life, taste, and laughter, indulging in the imagination of the very young and easily embellished imaginations. Life is awkward, and truth is painful, memories are not the truth and history will be a combination of all these factors anyway.
As a Mother/Photographer/Biographer I do not take the recording of our shared history or events lightly. However as a photographer I try to focus my view of life in such a way as to be able to see staged tableaus in every place that I encounter. I can see in my minds eye the moment before and after the event that I am capturing with my camera. There is a prevalent feeling for me in which I want to save moments, small moments that happen briefly and then vanish and are gone. I record moments in time so that I can go back and look at them again and again. I am captivated with light and the small moments in time that occur within every day.
Once the final images are twisted, turned, color corrected and turned again, even slight adjustments pop into place and then the meaning is there, it is saved, it is more truthful than the truth. I am creating the memory of my daughter’s childhood, the bubble in which we are in, our internal memory, whether it be flawed, imperfect or not quite real.
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