Joy Christiansen

What was Never Said
pigment photograph, wax
25 1/2 x 19 in.

This body of work, entitled ‘What Was Never Said’, is a series of portraits that were taken in 2004, the year I was twenty-five years old, my mother was fifty and my grandmother was seventy-five. Often subjects of my photographic work, my mother and grandmother silently complied to my request of them to model, while the decision to turn the camera on my self was something that caused me great anxiety and fear.

As I slowly documented our bodies, first at the head, then the chest, the waistline and the feet, I was both surprised and intrigued by the similarities and differences in our bodies and attitudes. My mother and grandmother are biologically connected while I am not, as I was adopted at birth. Even with this present information, it was amazing to see the similarities in our long bodies and within our similar gestures (no one was instructed on how to pose).

As the youngest and most youthful individual, I felt the most awkward standing in my family basement in my undergarments, while my grandmother, the eldest, was the most comfortable in her skin.

‘What Was Never Said’ is a reflection of my family relationships, perceptions of beauty and a look into the aging process. Age: 29

© Joy Christiansen