Last week, I joined a talk on Instagram live between Lewis
Chaplin from Loose Joints publishing, Tealia Ellis Ritter and Lisa Taddeo discussing
Ritter’s new photobook, The model Family, which is a thirty year long project
exploring identity and memory through family photographs. Ritter discussed the sequence
and design process and dissected her images to discuss the motives behind the
Ritter’s use of sequence throughout the photobook interested
me during the talk. The lack of time order within the Model family represented
the concept of memory to Ritter, with a range of memories being retrieved at different
times rather than being retrieved in a chronological order. This made me
reflect on my own sequence in the photobook I am developing for ‘Seeking out Euphoria’.
Unlike Ritter’s experience with memories being retrieved in no particular order
at random times, the memories of my transition are retrieved in time order.
Time resonates throughout my project due to the different stages and procedures
that have occurred throughout my transition. When I remember things from my
transition, I remember them in time order such as the date that I started Testosterone
and the date that I received a referral.
Ritter also discussed the prominent themes that occur
throughout The model family. The project not only explored her personal
experiences with family, memory and identity but also Gender. Ritter discussed
the presentation of Female maturity throughout the photobook as the project
took place over thirty years along side the presentation of Masculine presence.
The removal of Gender roles within Ritter’s childhood and family life allowed
her to feel uncontained and remove any expectations of herself and her future
which I understood through breaking my own Gender boundaries.
The Instagram live also discussed Ritter’s inclusion of
family and her experience collaborating with family members. Ritter explained
how family had more of an understanding of her project than strangers and
candid models. Ritter knew families vulnerabilities which made her more aware
of their boundaries when shooting and publishing work. I identified with this from
collaborating with my own family. When choosing who to collaborate with, I
found that my closest family had a better understanding and knowledge of my Gender
Transition and we understood what subjects could be approached and which topics
and memories family were more reluctant to discuss.
Overall, joining the talk and hearing Tealia Ellis Ritter discuss
her photobook images and sequence allowed me to reflect on the development of my
project and photobook. Thinking about the way that I retrieve memories of my
transition and how this is relevant to the sequence of the photobook and reflecting
on my experience working with family members all made me focus on the prominent
themes that I want to appear throughout my work such as vulnerability and