My Father's Daughter

Kerry Payne Stailey

2017 - Ongoing

“Everything beautiful was nothing I deserved, for shame is its own veil, and veils the world as much as its face” -Denis Johnson.

Addressing issues that are on the rise worldwide, faced by millions yet rarely talked about; depression, addiction and suicide, "My Father's Daughter" honors the period of utter desolation Kerry Payne Stailey entered in her mid-life. It reflects upon the parallels between her and her father, who died by suicide an alcoholic, and challenges her deeply held fear of meeting a destiny similar to his.

It is perhaps, an opposing bookend for “Left Behind" which was her first project, dealing with the emotional fallout she and millions of others have experienced as a result of losing somebody they love to suicide.

"My Father's Daughter" is Kerry's tribute to her darkest hours and the scars she bears from these experiences, which were not of her choosing, but hers alone to survive. It is a cathartic release, a full-circle arrival to redemption, in which forgiveness and love have been her way home.

--------------------------------------------- FATHER ------------------------------------------------

I adored you.

Flashing blue eyes,

fiery red hair,

a laugh that engaged

your every cell.

You were electric.

I feared you.

Your golden heart


by every

sip you took.

The box of


your father

handed you,


left behind

for me.

Is that why you drank?

Why I do too?

To remember?

To forget?

Your suicide,

a sorrow

I can not

drown away.


in my bones,

I know it now...






the darkness came

from the inside out.

How I wish

I did not.

Acceptance. Compassion. Forgiveness.







My way home.

Forgiving you.

Forgiving me.



KERRY PAYNE STAILEY is an Australian photographer based in Maine and Greater New York. Photography is her tool for igniting the powerful alchemy of 'hurting, to healing, to helping.'

Personal tragedies led Kerry to photography and through her projects, which explore the eternal themes of birth and death, she has not only found comfort for herself, but for countless others who identify with her images.

She has studied photography, documentary film making and writing at the International Center of Photography, School of Visual Arts and New York University.

In 2015 she was named ‘Photographer of the Year’ by the Lucie Foundation in the Moving Images category. Her photography has been published and exhibited internationally.

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