In camerawork I explore ideas of motion and stillness in photography and in life. A camera is said to capture, or freeze an action in time and space. So too does a traumatic event. Unable to stop the car hurtling toward my place on the sidewalk, I feel captured by memory and frozen. I use photography to unfreeze, in order to create something new.
I center on the safety color fluorescent yellow-green. This color shrouds, cloaks, and envelops me. With light from automobile headlights, the gestures and textures bespeak both dwelling in and departure from the memory of being struck by a car. Performing through long exposures, I uncover new territory in relationship to color, safety, and memory.
My interest in the topic of visibility comes from both my critique of visual culture, and my personal journey. Since I was struck, pinned, and disabled by a car in 2007 while walking on the safety of a sidewalk, I have wondered how to keep others and myself safe from similar fates. I notice the fluorescent lime green vests that police and rescue workers wear, as well as construction workers, trash collectors, joggers and cyclists. I see the color becoming more prevalent in our (sub)urban landscape, even from thong underwear to children’s backpacks.
I wonder, who is visible? Does visibility make us safer or more vulnerable? Can everyone be equally visible? How do we keep a sense of safety in a world that feels chaotic and over-sped? I research the properties that make this color visible and signal warning to drivers. It touches on colorimetrics, semiotics, and human factors research. I wonder what will happen as the trend continues. As the color pops up everywhere, will this diminish the awakening effect on motorists?
The effect is also curious when we don the color, imagining that it might stop or slow an oncoming car and protect us from injury or death. It is our need for a magical belief that we imagine being conspicuous, robed in The Visibility Cloak of sorts, will be our beacon and buffer. I imagine a possible similar effect of donning a facial mask to prevent pandemic spread. It seems wearing a Mask even tinges me with a feeling of invincibility in the face of a deadly virus.