In 2005, and again in 2012, I assisted my father with funeral preparations for both his parents.
There is a psychological fog that accompanies this kind of loss; a type of aimless drifting as you fumble through reconciling your own emotions. This is exacerbated by the imminent flood of decisions concerning the way objects, people, and spaces need to look for a final moment of reflection.
The funeral parlor, once at one’s home, has now transitioned into a rough semblance of its former self; divided into alcoves, sitting rooms, viewing rooms, and social lounges at for-profit funeral homes across the country. Viewing rooms require curation and the decisions my family and I made amounted to much more than musical selections and floral arrangements. Curtains, furniture, even lighting intensity and color needed to synchronize perfectly in order to fit our predetermined understanding of how this moment should feel.
I was struck by the significance of this spatial aesthetic, it’s kinship to theatre, and the crucial role our decisions played in processing difficult emotions.
Those situations deeply resonated with me and since then I have begun a project that uses the visual language of documentary photography to construct spaces that pull from my experiences with the funeral arrangements of my family. The pictures are designed to make us question their reality, and for that matter, how memory aids in the construction of what we determine to be real in the photographs we see.