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Inanimate Objects Provide the Perfect Family Portrait

A coonskin cap on a quilt, a colorful canary in a birdcage and a piece of colorfully embroidered cloth are three of the seven images Senior Aria Maisey, Photography BFA, used to describe the emotional bond she shares with her mother and sister.

In her photography series titled, The Three of Us, Aria asks her audience to feel the connection she shares with her small family but also to consider how particular objects can bring about emotional memories or cues from one’s past.

“I really want to convey how it worked with just the three of us,” she said. “And the fact is, we grew up in a household full of vintage things.”

Aria recalls going through some of these “vintage” objects in her childhood home and having instantaneous flashbacks to scenes from her youth.

“The coonskin hat reminds me how playful my mom was – even under all the pressures of being a single mom, she still had the time to play dress up,” Aria said. “It was emotional. Seeing some of these objects made me revisit things I didn’t realize were so important – that no matter how awful things got, I’m glad they happened.”

Some of the “awful things” she describes are the hardships of single motherhood – she watched her mother work multiple jobs to support both her and her sister. They barely saw their father.

“It’s funny because we always knew which apartment building he lived in but to this day, I still don’t know which apartment is actually his. That’s the reason for the apartment door images.”

Though her work may seem disjointed at first, Aria wants her audience to further contemplate each image and realize that she is extending an invitation to experience her emotional journey.

“My mother, my sister and I have a bond that is inexplicable through words. I want my audience to feel the starkness and raw emotion each object and image brought forth for me.”

Senior Aria Maisey’s work, The Three of Us, is now on display at the NEXT Thesis Exhibition.

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