In Defense of Tears

"A doctor once told me that I feel too much,
I said so does god that's why you can see
the grand canyon from space" 

-Andrea Gibson

When I was young I was in a room and the music that was playing was so incredibly sad that I started crying, without any knowledge about what the words really meant or the reason why that particular order of words touched my soul at that particular time. I was crying for no reason and therefore was embarrassed, but my dance teacher pulled me aside and held me tight for the first and only time and told me to hold on to that emotion. Keep that pure reaction for as long as you can. And as most grown ups of course I have lost the ability to access that visceral reaction that I had so close to me, when being embarrassed was a thing that I could still shake off. Now instead of those beautiful tears younger me could access there is nothing, or the something that does happen is instead exposed as anger or sadness, but nothing pure. My default emotion is a mildly angry nothing. I miss being sensitive, I miss the idea that I can cry without feeling shame. At what point do we teach our children that being sensitive is a sign of weakness? Instead those who can feel deeply enough to shed tears whether because of overwhelming circumstances, sadness, loss, happiness, fear, or from nothing. Why not celebrate the humanness and strength of tears and the strength in vulnerability, and let yourself or your children cry and be proud because the tears prove you are human and you have the ability feel something. As an adult I miss the ability to feel too much. There are few things in this world as beautiful as someone who feels too much.


Ethics in Fine Art Photography

I am diving right in today, going from introductions to some heavy, unanswerable, shit, and I'd love to start a dialogue about this because I honestly don't have any answers. 

This particular subject is something that is very close to my heart, and also it's something that I can't even pretend to have all of the answers to. Ethical practice in journalism and documentary photography is fairly black and white, or at least it used to be, I'm not sure anyone can call the current state of media ethical in any sense of the word. However that is a post for a different day by a different person. That can of worms is not one I am looking to open for fear of digging myself into a black hole I will never be able to crawl out of. 

However when it comes to fine art, the lines are blurry, curvy, and sometimes not there. If you call something art, especially if it's meant as satire or social critique, does the artist have the right and responsibility to put things out there that might be polarizing? To that question I think the answer is unequivocally yes. With photography though, especially with portraiture, you're dealing with real humans with real stories.

Yesterday I was having this ethical dilemma about putting up a photograph I made of a friend that was incredibly vulnerable, the story behind it was one of abuse and trauma. Her name won't ever go up on this website, and the story if she chooses to let me post it will be changed so people don't know it's her. Even with her permission I still had a sleepless night last night thinking about this photograph.  I was proud of the work, and I pride myself in being able to get real emotional reactions out of my subjects through discussion and sometimes a little bit of manipulation. Everyone who knows me knows that that practice weighs on me, but I push through because it's for the art. 

In my own work, because I deal with my own story and my subjects stories I always have the hesitation, is this too much? Is this doing more harm than good? Will this person regret posing and talking to me in five years, ten years, twenty years? Many artists ask themselves these questions and do it anyway, and most of the time I do. As creative people we are meant to push the envelope and take risks, but sometimes that culture can be damaging. I had a professor once suggest that since I was doing a project on addiction I should go ask permission to photograph people at a detox. I was so shocked at the suggestion that I couldn't even respond to tell that professor how ridiculous that would be. In no way was I going to go photograph people on the worst day of their lives, who could not consent, and would probably regret profoundly having photographs made of them once their heads cleared. For me, that was how I found my hard line, one I wouldn't pass, but others that wouldn't be the line. 

Anyway, I didn't really answer any of my own questions here, and I don't think I answered anyone else's either.  I would love to start a dialog about this, because I'm honestly curious where the line is for all artforms, how far outside your comfort zone is still okay? 

Until tomorrow, 



My name is Brianne. This is my website. This is my blog. I'm not super comfortable with all of this, and I know a lot of artists who like to take themselves very seriously when it comes to their words about their work. I don't quite feel the same way, I like to explore uncomfortable subjects, uncomfortable for me, uncomfortable for my audience. So here I think I'm going to try to be a little more casual. I'm going to take it slow, sometimes talking about important things, sometimes write in a messy stream of consciousness way, sometimes post poetry our audio, sometimes I will try and inevitably fail at being funny. Who knows? This is, in fact my little slice of the internet, so I suppose I can do whatever I want with it. 

A little bit about myself, I graduated a very short time ago with a BFA in fine arts from Montclair State University. My senior thesis was on suburbia, a theme that always tends to pop up in everything that I do. At the moment I'm trying to find my footing, I feel like my voice is about 37% developed, which I don't think is a terrible place to be at 23 years old. I have a few sure things in my life I'm sure I love art. I'm sure I am interested in people. I am also sure that I like to observe those people from a distance. I like to have a solid piece of glass and metal in between me and the world. 

I like to try things that I'm not that great at, so I think that the blog will be where I post those. I'm not sure if I'll be posting daily, weekly, or randomly.