Chasing Light is an ongoing collaborative photography series and community engagement project. My twin sister, Bianca, and I use photography as a means to explore our dynamic as siblings and our experiences of owning queer identities and disabled bodies.
Chasing Light holds space for the belief that representation, visibility, autonomy, and truth-telling can build solidarity and promote personal empowerment. Bianca and I present our work online, hold complimentary artist lectures, and encourage story-sharing within accessible, LGBTQ+ friendly venues. We created this particular chapter with an intent to engage the community, accommodate experimentation with our creative approach, and show new work.
We explore characteristics of our queer identities, my invisible illnesses, and Biancaʼs disability by photographing snapshots of our daily lives: intimate partners, personal spaces, family members, and moments of joy, pain, and frustration. We continue to shoot in natural light for its ability to attend to detail, provoke emotionality, and reveal the authenticity of our lived-in environments. The title phrase “chasing light” functions as a literal description of our physical pursuits. When we began working collaboratively, we traversed the city as the sun started to set in an attempt to shoot in gold-filtered light. It also acts as a metaphor for our continual quest to share our truths–our light–as we individually strive toward personal wellness.
Bianca and I were born with cerebral palsy and scoliosis. However, Bianca experiences a greater presentation of her disabilities and lives with secondary conditions that are both chronic and incurable. Her physical symptoms are compounded by persistent mental health challenges, and both rarely receive public consideration. I have been a second-hand witness to Biancaʼs experiences with adversity, marginalization, identity, and isolation for our entire lives. Experiencing this led me to start challenging the socially constructed ideologies I held relating to identity, disability, and health–both my own and Biancaʼs.
About Riel Sturchio
riel Sturchio is a multimedia artist who was born in Portland, Maine and currently resides in Austin, TX. riel received an MFA from the University of Austin, Texas (2018), and a BFA in Photography from the Maine College of Art (2012). rielʼs practice extends through poetry, photography, design, sound, videography, and book-making. rielʼs work revolves around the body, identity, language, and vulnerability. Currently, riel teaches in the Photography + Extended Media, and English departments at the University of Texas in Austin. [Official Website]