In my in progress series, Outlier, I turn the lens on my military heritage, exploring the meaning of duty and service in relation to one’s country and one’s family in a meaningful way for myself and my community.
I am the daughter and granddaughter of Navy pilots. At age 7, my father left for nine months to serve on an aircraft carrier and as a teenager, he left again for nearly two years to serve in Dessert Storm. I distinctly remember in both instances his absence and the infrequent phone calls from ports and bases on the other side of the world. As the first grandchild, I broke with this long standing military tradition in my family and choose to create a different life for myself and my children, one in which I would remain home and be present in their lives.
I intend to reconstruct my personal narrative exploring my father's military service through the juxtaposition of his military timeline with my own childhood, our physical proximity and distance to one another, along with personal artifacts including: photographs from my childhood, letters sent home to my mother, and my memories of his absence. I am interested in stitching text and emotions preserved in these artifacts directly onto our family photographs, making physical and visual connections in a large-scale layered installation.
I am creating a series of large-scale photographic self-portraits wearing my father's military uniforms, depicting the various military ranks I might have achieved had I chosen the military life. I will also embroider text from letters sent home and notes from my personal childhood journal into the lining of my father's uniforms.
Lastly, I will interview children and young adults whose parents are currently serving in the military and record the positive and negative impact this has had on their lives. These interviews will serve to better inform the installation and self-portraits as well as become a stand alone video and audio piece.