ConceptEuropeHeart them stirring by Tabitha Barnard

I started working on this project six years ago when I first started my undergrad degree. At the time my youngest sisters were thirteen.My sisters were around me all the time and I figured if they were there I should start photographing them.

I started working on this project six years ago when I first started my undergrad degree. At the time my youngest sisters were thirteen.

My sisters were around me all the time and I figured if they were there I should start photographing them. As I photographed them, our relationships, and family dynamics more and more I realized that the situation I was raised in was not something everyone had experienced.

We lived in rural Maine, surrounded by woods, fields and the ocean. As the work developed it became more performative and theatrical. My sisters participate in the creation of each image. We were fairly isolated as children so we created elaborate fantasy games to play and entertain ourselves with. This aspect of ritual and fantasy has become intrinsic in my work. I’m interested in lifting a veil and allowing an audience to see a formerly private and intimate relationship forged between sisters. The work has heavy overtones of witchcraft, the occult, and the Christian religion.  My entire family was extremely religious and we spent every Sunday and Tuesday night attending church. In our church, some of the members demonized sexuality, femininity. But at the same time, I was surrounded by sisters, my mother, and aunts. I became really fascinated with the idea that in religion women were believed to be the weaker sex but at the same time were perceived to be so powerful that all it took was one sultry look or outfit to totally destroy a man’s will and morality. The bible story of King David and Bathsheba has always stood out to me. This same religious mentality brought on the New England witch panic. Since I was raised in New England it’s history with religion and witchcraft became so important to my work. In the images, my sisters become powerful seductresses, confrontational and powerful while on display. My photographs also aim to capture each of their transitions from girlhood to womanhood. A time in every woman’s life where they go from being children to sexualized beings. I want to capture the abject nature of this transition as well as the sublime aspects. Some of the images show my youngest sister compulsively picking at her scabs while the image next to it she’s gazing enticingly at the viewer in beautiful light. The push and pull relationship between the idea of the maiden or crone has always interested me. The traditional idea of a witch where she can appear beautiful and seductive when she wants to but reveals herself to be a hag the next minute. This is a body of work that has become so closely intertwined with my relationship with my sisters and I will probably continue make for my entire life. [Official Website]

Heart them stirring | Tabitha Barnard

Heart them stirring | Tabitha Barnard

Heart them stirring | Tabitha Barnard

Heart them stirring | Tabitha Barnard

Heart them stirring | Tabitha Barnard

Heart them stirring | Tabitha Barnard

Heart them stirring | Tabitha Barnard

Heart them stirring | Tabitha Barnard

Heart them stirring | Tabitha Barnard

Heart them stirring | Tabitha Barnard

Heart them stirring | Tabitha Barnard

Heart them stirring | Tabitha Barnard

Heart them stirring | Tabitha Barnard

Heart them stirring | Tabitha Barnard

Heart them stirring | Tabitha Barnard

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