The imagery of my photographs contains the metaphor of memory and myth. Using the contemporary framework of my personal history I explore personal loss, religious and cultural identities linked with the inescapable essence of mortality. Nostalgia for what once was, plays heavily throughout the threads of my imagery.
Photography has a history of being linked to the recording of memory and therefore, also loss. The photographic image is a visual memory both real and fabricated in its design. It is capable of
expressing the duality of the moment: life and death, dark and light, loss and fulfillment. I use symbolism to create a visual metaphor rich in this duality. Using both traditional and cultural images of symbolism to further the narrative creates imagery that speaks of the human experience. The use of this symbolism is a direct reference to the 17th century Vanitas paintings and early training in Catholicism as a child. Subjects include self-portraits, my own children, antique toys and dolls, and vintage photographs. The use of bones in some of my work is a valid reminder of my Hispanic roots. Other cultural references are also used, such as Meso-American imagery and images of war from the 1910 – 1920 Mexican Revolution during the reign of my Great-Great Uncle, Pancho Villa of Mexico.
Beauty and play are current directions I am working in right now. These ideas run parallel during these uncertain times and keep me in the moment. Working with the familiar beauty of what is around me helps to quiet the noise of the world through my own personal mythology, real or imagined.
Suzanne Gonsalez-Smith 2023
Interpreting Nostalgia: Butterfly
Christmas 2019 Before COVID
All Generations Shall Call Me Blessed
At the End of the Day VI
Kitchen Dialogs XXIII
The Clothes They Gave Me When You Died I
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