A bad penny always turns up.
At the age of sixteen, I underwent a psychotherapy procedure (EMDR) in effort to discover and address the origin of my deepest personal trauma. The result of this experiment was more questions than answers. Was it my birth into the world or is it possible that trauma can be passed on from one person to another? Can trauma endured by a place find roots within the individuals who inhabit it?
Like a Bad Penny is an ongoing photographic search for the relationship between trauma and relationships. The series title Like a Bad Penny references an old English proverb that describes the recurrence of an unwanted person or event. I am interested in how trauma has created dysfunction within my family and how it is the foundation of my identity. Specifically, I find myself drawn to the idea that in spite of our resistance, the older we get, the more like our parents we become. Like a Bad Penny is a visual document that uses portraiture and staged environments to reference destruction, violence, and substance abuse. Despite my attempts to reconcile with the destructive actions of my parents and the region I was born into, I am also inevitably attracted to people with these same attributes.
I see trauma as an energy that cannot be created or destroyed – it can be inherited, transferred, and shared. My trauma existed before I was born. I inherited some of it from my family and other parts are from the land I grew up in. I share it with the people I am in relationships with. The camera is a tool that allows me to create symbolic images of trauma inspired by personal memory and compulsive storytelling. In my quest to photograph others and the relationship we share, it is my own memories of trauma that, like a bad penny, always turns up.