Embody: Gender |

This is You, This is Me

Claire Gilliam

My photography draws upon my own experiences as a woman and a disabled woman at that. They reflect my fantasies, my truths, my history mapped through skin. Having been stared at throughout my life without invitation, these photographs challenge and give permission to the viewer to gaze upon my body on my own terms. In a wider sense, according to me they speak for a universality of the female body, conveying the dualities – the dualities of awkwardness and grace while bringing to light peculiarities and similarities that every body exists with. Conundrum, a series of life size photograms made with my own body and layered with text, expands upon these thoughts. The direct process of literally placing myself onto the paper allows me to explore the physical imprint that we leave within a space and ideas of presence, transience and absence.

What the Body Knows

Poem by Tishani Doshi

The body dances in a darkened room
turning itself inside out
so that skin can face the light in fractures,
slip like shadow through skeleton walls,
begin to cry – really – to scream
about the tarnished weight of dreams.

This has been a drift after all.
The body returns to its original place,
moves from one to the other – creeps –
tries to flee itself, lone trunk,
searches for remain of bark,
hints of what it used to be.

Perhaps an ocean framed in bone,
a pair of birds in early white,
flying from this dream to the next
fixing the gaps between memory
and reverberation; binding spine
on vein, feather to lesion.

The body collects its wandering parts,
leans back through layers
of thickening water; roots above
boughs beneath, feet caving in to wonder.
It’s how the world reverses itself,
how the distant sky finds the earth.

Conundrum I – 2013

Conundrum II, 2013

Disappear (Photogram I)
Conundrum IV, 2012

I Am My Body VI
I Am My Body IV, 2009

I Am My Body VII
I Am My Body VII, 2009

Evidence from the series, In Memory, 2012

Whole from the series, In Memory, 2012