Worn to protect, conceal or adorn, a scrap of fabric so often reveals the grief, joy, betrayal and courage of the body it covers. Clothes touch our skin in hidden places, and they are our public face. They present who we are to the world and they are profoundly intimate, private. Separating our private worlds as much as our bodies, they are the fragile membrane that divides and unites. While I love the beauty of the clothes, it is this loveliness of the way that the clothes betray the body wearing them that captivates me.
Each day of 2014 I made an image of the clothes of one person who was in a news story of the day. I worked in watercolour on white paper, but quickly realized that the white ground, chosen for its practicality, was far from neutral. So I made a second series, running from June 2015 – June 2016, on black paper.
I wanted to pay attention to the mass-produced imagery that rushes past us, one story after another. A photograph can spread across the globe almost instantly, reproduced millions of times and yet originates with a ‘real’ person’s experience. By carefully observing the very personal things that people cover themselves with, I was hoping to return to the uniqueness of particular moments.
Each day, I chose something that seemed beautiful, important, strange or significant to me. I tried to be even handed and diverse, however, I did prioritize images of journalists who have been murdered or imprisoned. Without the awe-inspiring courage of those who continue to share the truths they see, sometimes in the face of great danger, this work wouldn’t have been possible.