Marydorsey Wanless
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There is also an explanation of each object and its value and method of discard on an iPad in front of the installation. Each item has a history, a meaning, a memory, or a future use which did not materialize. 



Breaking 60
     Photography has always been a method to collect evidence. This seems an appropriate medium for collecting evidence and documenting my aging process.
     I am very concerned with my aging body and my health. As a woman ages, there are many choices to be made and many issues to dealt with. These have been brought to forefront with an accident this summer that left me in a wheel chair for a week. I was unable to propel my body on crutches because I wasn’t strong enough. I was totally dependent upon a loving caregiver, but felt totally out of control, dependent, and vulnerable. Mild depression ensued as I contemplated that taste of aging and dependency.
     Research shows that aging is a very personal and individualized process. There are many factors: gender, culture, weather, education, socioeconomic levels, genetics, disease, accidents, different rates of aging, biological and physical components. Now I’m told I have “osteopino” or a slight depletion of calcium in my bones: bone density scans, more exercise, calcium, stronger medication? I am stiff when I awake in the morning: Advil, stronger medication, yoga? I have passed through a rough menopause; what about hormone therapy, heart attacks, breast cancer? I can’t see without glasses and I have a cataract; laser surgery, lens replacement?
     When we are younger, we are always building, gathering, collecting: relationships, families, possessions, skills, money, dreams, and regrets. Growing older means letting go, losing, surrendering. Growing older is an acceptance of things we can’t change.
     I am contemplating losses such as: independence, physical abilities, physical power, mental facilities, memory, emotional health, relationships, friends, family, parents, health, eye sight, sexuality, decaying body, dreams, hopes, disappointments. There is already a reduced importance of my body. It is no longer useful for reproduction, strength, or power; it doesn’t work properly; it will be cut up, dissected, diseased. It will only be useful to house my spirit and soul.
     As I pass the point where I have more years behind me than in front of me, I wonder what legacy I will leave to my children, my grandchildren, and the world. I need time to rethink the lessons acquired throughout my life. I feel the need to categorize. It is time to build personal altars: what is to be kept, treasured, protected, preserved?

     Photography has always been a method to collect evidence. This seems an appropriate medium for documenting my aging process. I am contemplating losses such as independence, physical abilities, physical power, mental facilities, memory, emotional health, relationships, friends, family, parents, health, eye sight, sexuality, decaying body, dreams, hopes, disappointments.
     Yet, as I say goodbye, I also say hello to a new life, and to a renewal of spirit and soul. As I age, I find it easier to look on the positive side. I feel liberated. Life is less complicated, and I am embracing the aging process. It is a time to rethink the lessons of life, but not to waste time worrying about what might have been or what comes next.

     Tintype images of hands on an aching back, "lumbago," my personal journey into the aging process. Images form a narrative without beginning or end, without starts or stops, emphasizing constant aches and pains. Variety of color, contrast, brightness, shape provide visual rhythm throughout the multiples of black aluminum. I use photography to collect evidence, and tintypes to reference the deterioration of the body and the timelessness of growing older.

     Epiphany, an intuitive grasp of reality through something (such as an event) usually simple and striking; an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure; a revealing scene or moment. All of us move through emotionally-charged times in our lives, and in the turmoil, unnoticed threads disentangle, allowing us to reexamine the complexity and intricacy of our situations. We are able to come to new understandings about ourselves, positions in life, and relationships with others.

    Paranoia is symptom in which an individual feels as if the world is "out to get" him or her. Paranoia is a very human feeling, and nearly everyone has experienced it at some or another time, to varying degrees.
Individuals suffering from paranoia have intense feelings of distrust, which sometimes lead to overt or covert hostility. They feel very suspicious, and have a sense that other people want to harm them. As a result, they change their reactions in response to a world that they perceive to be personally threatening. To an objective outside observer, it may be quite clear that there are no words or actions are actually threatening the paranoid individual.
    Researchers do not fully understand the chemical or physical changes in the brain cause paranoia. It is a prominent symptom in many mental disorders as well as physical diseases. The use of certain drugs or chemicals may also cause symptoms of paranoia in an otherwise normal individual.
    I have recently watched my elderly mother deal with paranoia. It was caused by a reaction to a combination of drugs used for physical ailments, and was cured by discontinuing the medications. However, the paranoid delusions were very real to her and extremely disturbing for me to watch. Through these photographs, I try to understand what it must have been like for her to live trapped in a paranoid existence in her mind.


     I have been traveling to Caribbean beach towns and resorts for over thirty years, and have sadly watched them change from small intimate fishing villages to mega tourist destinations. It is very difficult now to find untouched beaches and tiny hotels where the locals still spend their holiday time. This series of images reflects my memories of those quiet places, laid back, hot sun, cold beer, long walks in the sand.
     Photography has always recorded the passage of time. This work is documentary in nature, catching the fleeting moments of the nostalgic past. It is a continuous search for times gone by; the yearning for a slower lifestyle focusing on relationships, reflections, and the simple acts of living.
     Process is a vital part of this imagery. Gum Bichromate is a time consuming, hand-applied, layering process that takes several days to complete and requires extreme patience. However, its rich surface preserves the color and light that originally inspired me. The Gum Bichromate process allows me to romanticize these places and create a longing for the irrecoverable past. The process gives these images the nostalgic feeling of an old National Geographic magazine, and in itself, speaks of slower times.



                 The work exhibited in “Traveling the Back Roads” is about place:  the Kansas prairie and its history, its architecture, its geography, its elements.   The land here is characterized both by the predictable as well as the unexpected.  One never knows what one will find around the curve ahead or over the next hill:  soaring vultures, pastures of wildflowers, or an old school house. 

               I go to the prairie for inspiration; it calls me back again and again.  I love the elements created by weather:  sun, wind, snow, fog, rain, mist, storms, clouds, calm, wet dry cold hot, humidity, temperature.  I love to see great distances, to fill my camera lens with sky.  I love to hear the birds and coyotes, to smell the burns, to feel the wind against my face.


               I moved to Kansas in 1981, thinking it was just a short stop along my journey through life.  Thirty-three years later, I have come full circle and embraced Kansas as my home.  Now I have an art studio at the end of a gravel road in rural Onaga, Kansas, where I live and enjoy the seasons and natural life of the area, where my senses are constantly alive and stimulated, and where I can soak up the vistas of the prairie and the forever skies.


               The work exhibited in “Traveling the Back Roads” is a collection of my impressions of rural Kansas.  It too is a juxtaposition, as is the prairie: the modern vs. the old, digital vs. handmade.  I feel that both types of photographic techniques tell the stories of the area equally well.


               The man-made alterations of the prairie are constantly worn down by the unforgiving weather of Kansas.  I have used my iPhone camera and some digital “apps” to create black and white square images of sights along the back roads.  The tintype metallic look of the photographs references the harsh climatic elements, as well as the rich history of the area.


“Living with Less” is a conceptual documentary photography project about possessions that clutter our daily lives.  As a sixty-five year old “Baby Boomer” looking forward to retirement, I am going through the expected steps.  I have “downsized” twice, selling the family home, then a smaller home, and finally moving into maintenance-free condominium.  I have ridded myself of many possessions, useless, broken, ignored. 

However, I am still accumulating more possessions!  What happens to this “stuff” when we die?  How long does it take to dispose of a parent’s lifelong possessions?  Do we really want to dump this responsibility on our children? 
It is important to address the reasons we collect and save, and then explore what purpose it serves.  Do we feel safer and more secure when surrounded by our “stuff?”  Are we afraid that if we throw out items we will lose that memory? Do we think we will need it in the future?  Are we fearful of throwing out the wrong item, so we just keep it all?

Possessions themselves are not a bad thing, but they can become a burden.  We devote so much time to maintaining our possessions that we are not free to experience life to the fullest.
  Where did all this stuff come from???   For the elder who lived through the Depression, saving was a key to survival.  One has only to listen to old proverbs such as “saving for a rainy day” or “waste not, want not” to hear this message.  There was no short shelf life of goods and technology as there is today.  For the older person with this mindset, it is almost sacrilegious not to save.   Enter the Baby Boomer Generation! Anyone who has grown up in the second half of the last century did so in a culture of unparalleled affluence.  Goods were available and relatively cheap.  “Stuff” was easy to obtain – and we did.  While the young Boomers may have moved out of their parents’ homes with only what could fit in a station wagon, they started their own households, raised their own families, and moved over the years through a series of ever-expanding living spaces where more stuff was gathered.  This is a cultural phenomenon where our society encourages accumulation and consumerism; preventing the accumulation of stuff requires active effort.   How to discard becomes a problem!  What do I throw away?   What do I sell?   What do I donate, recycle, or give to a family member?  And, most importantly, what do I save and why?

The documentary photography project, “Living with Less:
Discarding One Possession Every Day,” is a photographic installation comprised of twelve monthly calendar grids, beginning with April 2013.  The future months will be completed and added to the installation as they occur.  Each day a possession will be chosen, then photographed, and finally discarded. Each item will be displayed separately to establish it as an object with importance.  I am using the latest iPhone camera contrasting with a “retro camera app” which distresses the image, referencing its rather diminished importance and age as compared to that when first obtained.  The images are all in color. 



Birds in flight have always fascinated me.   I can remember as a child being entranced watching them swoop, dive, soar, and glide.  Since ancient times, people have watched birds in the sky with fascination and jealousy, wishing they too could fly. They considered birds a link between the heavens and the earth.


Flight has captured the human imagination from early days.  Examples include Greek myth of Icarus and the art of Leonardo da Vinci.  Flying is a common symbol of freedom; our country chose the eagle as its symbol.


Birds fly in different ways:  gliding and soaring with out-stretched wings;  darting and swooping and weaving;  flapping wings so fast we can’t see them.  They jump off branches or race into the wind.  They fly at great heights and seemingly without effort.


As a photographer, I am exploring the relationship between the instinctive desire of humans to fly and the actual flight of birds.   I have tried to capture Seagulls gliding on streams of air, reaching into the skies, carried by the wind until the current ends, fighting to catch it again, as well as their freedom and independence.  I use Infrared to capture the ethereal nature of birds and flight.

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