Opa Arie

/ Wednesday, May 22, 2013 /
                                                                                                                                          Opa Arie, 2013 © Chrissie Smolders

I've been in the United States for almost four months now. During this time I got married, found a cute house to live in, adopted a dog, and barely took any pictures. My thoughts have been so consumed with other things, it hasn't been a priority. Now, my need to be productive is slowly starting to return. Though I'm in the process of shaping a whole new project, first I need to wrap up my family photos. I opened the files a few times, but it's taken this long to be able to work with them without getting too emotional about not being able to be with my family.

My grandfather is slowly but surely dying; I won't be there for his final steps through life. Even though it wasn't spoken out loud, we both knew we weren't going to see each other again. This was why I made these photos before I stepped on the plane that took me so far away. I want to keep my memories.

Work Title

/ Tuesday, January 29, 2013 /
                                                                                 Cake, blue, 2013 © Chrissie Smolders

I'm working on a new project about my family. My final leave from this country is less than two weeks away, and I can't go without some photos to remember my family by. For this project I have taken the core of my family: both my grandparents, my own parents, and my brother and I. The structure is made up by those five parts. For every part, I am taking pictures of objects that hold a certain value in regards to their identity or memories that I have of them, and I take portraits too.

Every part has their own color in accordance with the color wheel of traditional painting. My grandparents each have a primary color, blue and yellow. I chose violet as the secondary color for my parents, and my brother and I have a tertiary color: viridian and magenta. I did this mainly because the objects and portraits won't be set up in order, but I want the viewer to be able to connect the items to the people they belong to. 

Though I will publish this series when it's finished, I truly am making it for myself. I try to work by doing what feels right and based on my own subjective view, without input. And it was only when I began to work on this project that I started to understand my own memories, and whether they are truly attached to items or just pure emotion. For example, I was able to collect a lot of items at my grandparents, but at my brother anything beyond the first three objects I thought of just didn't feel right. This is because especially with my grandparents a lot of my childhood memories are tied to things; I spent countless days and nights there eating my favorite snack and playing with a their stuff. The memories I hold of my brother, however, aren't so much of his stuff but of what we've experienced together, the conversations we have and how much I love him. But that's okay. Updates to follow.

                          Grandmother, blue, 2013 © Chrissie Smolders                Grandfather, blue, 2013 © Chrissie Smolders

Lola, after life

/ Wednesday, January 9, 2013 /

Lola, dead, 2012 © Chrissie Smolders

Last July we had to put one of our dogs down. We put her in the car to go to the vet, and in a flash I grabbed my camera. Why did I do that? Did I want to capture death, or simply remember; to not forget the face of this dog, the scar she had on one of her big, clumsy paws? Here, though I make her dead through my title, it doesn't have to be absolutely so. That makes it less shocking. Less confrontational. But I also took two photos as she was put in the ground, in my grandparents backyard. There, she looked contorted. Her eyes were open too much. Death was staring at me. I did not save those scans.
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