42 Wayne

Jillian Freyer

2016 - Ongoing

These images, titled 42 Wayne, work to explore the notion of experience as touch and emotional and physical endurance performed through female bodies. Witnessed events, staged performances, and instinct serves to seek new intimacies between me and my subjects. Texture and surface become essential in relaying information about the individuals' conditions, whether physical or psychological. Physical sensations sourced from past experiences show up in subtle details that reveal exposed skin, pressed bodies, and the simple observation of physical form concerning others in space. Inherited beliefs of misogyny and expectations concerning gender serve as an entry point to this body of work.

The images are made without a single formula. They serve as a response and allow me to be a part of the performances rather than just an observer. I began making these photos in response to political events and movements around me in 2016. I wanted to bring them into my home; to find my voice, and use photography to communicate beliefs and personal, familial history amongst my mother and two younger sisters. Making these images was a way to spend more time together, even if it was painful or unpleasant. My subjects grew from my mother and sisters to other women I've met in passing or online. Each photograph I make feels like a gift, something I receive from my subjects because of mutual trust. I feel tempted to allow there to be an intimacy between my subjects and myself, a faith that enables us each to be vulnerable to another in the photo making process. The women that populate these images come together as a world of women, unified by lived experiences and a yearning for closeness. These images mean celebrating flaws and bringing awareness to an emotional burden some may carry in hopes that my viewers can relate to the females I collaborate with. I want there to be a meditation on how we interact with one another, reflecting on touch and gesture, to give these subtle details more time and consideration. Body language and how we interact with one another are influential in how we learn about the world. There are beliefs woven into the gestures we perform, inherited from one another that lie amongst the quotidian. Simple interactions we repeat and observe, performed by our mothers, grandmothers, and sisters. I use personal experiences, being female from a close-knit family of women, while photography becomes my mediator.

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  • I wanted to make a photograph that was able to illustrate age, and vulnerability, the weight women and individuals carry with them in a physical form. A woman is being dragged by another, skin glistening, with the grass swallowing her up. Experiences are often quieted and are held within us creating an unbearable weight within them. I am drawn to moments that have the ability to represent both a kind of violence and intimacy at once.

  • Emmalee sits beside the hedges on the stained beach sheet, high noon sun beating down on her illuminating her freckles, with sweat trickling down above her top lip.

  • The subject's eyes peer through their feathered hair, floating above the camera, gazing down at me and acknowledging another presence. This photograph was a surprise​ but was made in a way that illustrates its purpose at the same time. The image reflects an exclusivity or closeness to one another. I use the camera as my eye and we see one another, gazing back at each other. The image was made through simple play, because of ​closeness between myself and the three women in the photograph. I had recently watched the film, "Three Women" and believe I made this subconsciously with it in the back of my mind.

  • I met Morgane online, through an ad seeking women to photograph. I often find women to photograph off of these ads, while they are searching for employment, seeking new experiences and interactions at the same time. I am struck by the intimacy between us and the openness and trust she gave me in only an hour of meeting one another.

  • I met Judy at a friend's baby shower. She caught my eye as she picked through the rigatoni. I could feel her looking and noticing me as well. Not in a sexual way, but of mutual interest. After the baby shower, I went to her house to photograph her. She had green stripes of color in her hair and patent leather black stilettos. She showed me around her home, telling me about her three daughters, and I immediately recognized her appeal. For some reason she reminded me of my mom, with her daughters.

  • Stained and pickled, summer fingers lay in a distorted manner, after picking raspberries along the road.

  • Ayana takes a moment to herself before climbing into the tub like water. The swimming hole is hidden to the naked eye -- a place you can only reach by boat or a long walk if you know where to look.

  • Participants hold Germaine's arm to heal and help relieve her from the pain within her arm. Bruises are confused with shadows, as the light from the camera is mixed with daylight, confusing and intermingling surfaces.

  • This photo was taken of Carmen after she gave birth to her second son, Arlo. I was supposed to be at her birth to photograph her, to document that moment for her, but he arrived early. This photograph was made in her backyard, in Washington state, where the summer this year never seemed to arrive. Radiant and vulnerable, I am astonished by the strength of a woman, physically and mentally. I am drawn to the small details, like the trail of ants marching up her stomach.

  • Ayana and Elizabeth embrace, carefully balanced on the mossy rocks below. Fish nibble at their legs. Together their bodies and reflection form a circle, engulfing the contents of the water below in shadow.

  • Lyegge lies on the ground on a cold spring day, making her eyes water.

  • Participants hold Germaine's arm to heal and help relieve her from the pain within her arm. Bruises are confused with shadows, as the light from the camera is mixed with daylight, confusing and intermingling surfaces.

  • Lily is rinsed by Julie with the watering pail beside the compost back behind their house.

  • Lily's 12-year molar is loose and I am attempting to remove it. Blood stains her chin, and I open her mouth​ wider, appearing in the corner of the frame. I love the surprise that arises​ from collaborations, and the androgyny of this action, the way it appears that I am going to kiss her as well.

  • This image is from a video that was made from the repetition of my mom, and sister performing self-defense exercises. I directed them verbally and they repeated these actions for two hours, quickly falling into character. I wanted this to be a reflection of personal history, how familiar people and actions can be misleading. We fall into habits, repeat gestures and sometimes when we are trying to protect ourselves from violence we walk right into it without knowing.

  • Amanda's gray hair grown in after five months. She has had gray hair since the 7th grade.

  • For this image, I wanted to imagine the way beliefs are passed down between generations, through physical illustration. Reflecting on the way knowledge transforms and travels and picturing it as a physical retrieval by way of bodies touching one another. In this image, I am also drawn to the imperfections of my grandmother's toes, the cesarean scar on my mom's stomach, stretch marks on her hips and the weight of the two bodies coming together.

  • Lily with her tongue out, saliva dangling, laying in the backyard.

  • Sadie and Lily pile their bodies on one another. From a distance, the ground they lay on seems soft, skin smoothed over. As we move closer and they settle into the yard, the grass picks and prods, leaving a raised rash on the exposed skin. The teen's faces marked with makeup, freckles, and blemishes. Each version beautiful with its flaws, providing two truths, as photography is so skilled at describing.

  • Emi bends over backward on a hill, hair falling back and her body adjusting to gravity. I like finding unsuspecting ways to show the body, to create new experiences for myself, the subject and the viewers. To continue surprising myself in the ways that play can be represented when photographed is just as much a thrill from when I first discovered photography. Emi's skin contrasted against the dark summer grass illuminates her profile, appearing almost like a film negative.