Rachel Nixon


Canada; Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

The series “A/Part” draws on my experience of living with the burden of a family secret as a child.

It charts my journey from pain to surviving to thriving through a succession of constructed-reality images that tackle feelings others may also identify with, including: difference, shame, isolation, absence, self-sufficiency, acceptance and resolution.

Using a constant – if sometimes abstract and fragmented – female subject, the series is intended to show the push and pull between interior and exterior life. The images themselves shift between movement and stillness, and between blur and focus, mirroring alternating feelings of turmoil and clarity brought about by the secret I was living with.

It begins with feeling “different” from other people and a nascent understanding of shame and consequent self-isolation. It progresses onto a realization of and longing for an absent person, and conflicting feelings of self-sufficiency and yet never being “good enough”. Finally, there is a tentative going-out into the world, and resolution. The colour palette also shifts, becoming brighter and more vivid as the series progresses, and as resolution is achieved.

The series fits within my broader work that often uses strategies such as multiple exposure, fragmentation and abstraction to develop visual narratives. Throughout my photographic practice runs a deep appreciation for colour and structure.

A/Part was created in 2019 for my final portfolio project in the professional photography program at the Vancouver Institute of Media Arts (VanArts) in Vancouver, BC, Canada. I graduated with honours from the program in September 2019.

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  • 1. Difference

  • 2. Shame

  • 3. Isolation

  • 4. Absence

  • 5. Secrecy

  • 6. Making up stories

  • 7. Self-sufficiency

  • 8. Striving

  • 9. Blocked

  • 10. Acceptance

  • 11. Seeking connection

  • 12. Resolution