Texas Photographic Society Presents: NATIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY AWARD
Winner: Jaclyn Wright
Juried by Natasha Egan
On view: March 7 - April 18, 2020
Marked combines traditional photographic techniques with contemporary digital processes, performance, and sculpture. The title refers to a prominent birthmark on my neck, which has drawn verbal and physical abuse from strangers. Reproductions of the birthmark’s shape and color appear throughout the work. In Marked, I consider ways we are marked from birth, specifically through gender. Birthmarks are like political boundaries on a map, expressing the concomitant desire to include and exclude, to mark belonging through exclusion and differentiation. The work explores the parallels between human attempts to control, shape, and extract from the land and the body. This is visualized through the demarcation of the birthmark as a means to represent what is through what isn’t.
Both the landscape and the body are tropes represented through photographic surveys, and both raise questions of power, representation and ideology. Photographic surveys of the American West sought to document, aestheticize, and colonize the lands and the bodies viewed through the camera’s lens. These surveys facilitated the movement of white bodies onto the land and native bodies off of it. Photographs of the landscape and the body still carry this trace of privilege and propaganda. Marked responds critically to this history by examining the fraught relationship between the land and the body and its colonization by both patriarchy and photography.