“When something is festering in your memory or your imagination, laws of silence don’t work. It’s like shutting a door and locking it on a house on fire in hope of forgetting that the house is burning. ” – Tennessee Williams, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
I’ve been afraid of letting go of the life I was programmed to live. I was taught that having a family and a home and a church and a regular job, all good Southern values, meant that I was successful. My own family life was difficult and displaced, not something I wished to reproduce. I am distrustful of both people and the idea of the American Dream. I’ve avoided any of the rites and rituals that signify “success” but failed to replace a broken mythology with any other.
I began searching for signs of meaningful relationships and missed opportunities, trying to piece together a map of how to be. I needed to look at the past, see it clearly, and then see beyond it. Symbols of a damaged childhood, when contained within a frame, no longer carry the unbounded force of memory. Signs of connection, when taken out of context, reveal themselves to be fallacies. I have been afraid that I will drown in other people. I couldn’t see how water can soothe and sustain as well as destroy.
Thomas Roma likens the making of photographs to Robert Frost’s idea of making a poem: “A poem begins with a lump in the throat; a homesickness, a lovesickness.” These pictures come from that emotional space of longing, of wishing for things that never were and might never be. I can only see a feeling clearly when I disarm and immobilize it, pin it to the wall and examine it with the others. I’m learning how to be alone without being lonely, how to be carried without being overwhelmed, and to walk away from what I want to leave behind.
Jennifer McClure is a fine art photographer based in New York City. She uses the camera to ask and answer questions. Her work is about longing, solitude, and an ambivalent yearning for connection. She often uses herself and her experiences as subject matter to explore the creation of personal mythology and the agency of identity.
After an early start, Jennifer returned to photography in 2001, taking classes at the School of Visual Arts and the International Center of Photography. In between, she acquired a B.A. in English Theory and Literature and began a long career in restaurants. Most of her projects today incorporate her love of literature; one series was inspired by a short story, another includes photos of transformative texts, still another draws titles from a long-form poem.
Jennifer was a 2019 and 2017 Critical Mass Top 50 finalist and twice received the Arthur Griffin Legacy Award from the Griffin Museum of Photography’s Juried Exhibitions. She was awarded CENTER’s Editor’s Choice by Susan White of Vanity Fair in 2013 and has been exhibited in numerous shows across the country. Her work has been featured in publications such as Vogue, GUP, The New Republic, Lenscratch, Feature Shoot, L’Oeil de la Photographie, The Photo Review, Dwell, Adbusters, and PDN. Lectures include the School of Visual Arts i3: Images, Ideas, Inspiration series, Fotofusion, FIT, NY Photo Salon and Columbia Teacher’s College. She has taught workshops for Leica Akademie, PDN’s PhotoPlus Expo, the Maine Media Workshops, the Griffin Museum, and Fotofusion. She was a thesis reviewer and advisor for the Masters Programs at both the School of Visual Arts and New Hampshire Institute of Art. She founded the Women’s Photo Alliance in 2015.
United Photo Industries (UPI) is a New York based nonprofit organization that works to promote a wider understanding of, and increased access to, the art of photography.
Since its founding in 2011, UPI has rapidly solidified its position in the public art landscape by continuing to showcase thought-provoking, challenging, and exceptional photography from across the globe. In its first seven years, UPI has presented the work of more than 2,500 visual artists in gallery exhibitions and public art installations worldwide.
Laws of Silence
Featuring: Jennifer McClure
LocationsView Location Details Download a detailed map of this location Brooklyn Bridge Park – Emily Warren Roebling Plaza
1 Water St
Brooklyn, NY 11201
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Nominated by Elizabeth Avedon