Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Sylvia Gutierrez reviews Ashley Feagin

            Ashley Feagin received her BA in Photography from McNeese State University in 2009 and later received her MFA from Louisiana Tech University in the spring of 2012. She is an active member of the Society for Photographic Education, Texas Photographic Society, Houston Center of Photography, the Mid-America College Art Association and is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor at Albion College in Michigan. Within all of Feagin’s series, she allows the viewer to explore deep within her personal life as she transforms them into participants of her storytelling journey. Ashley Feagin is definitely someone that I look for inspiration, her methods of bringing in audience and the manner in which she discloses her personal life is very seamless and full of emotion but not to the point that is forced upon the viewer.
Even though most of Feagin’s work consists of a documentary aesthetic, it seems as though her series A Boy Named Laughter, is one of the most convincing within this discipline in photography. She introduces the viewer of her interaction and daily life activities with this “tiny human” (as she calls him) that has just recently become part of her life. There is a combination between high and low vantage points in the angle of the camera, thus creating this movement within the house as we begin to pursue the trail that has been left behind of this four-year-old. There are some shots in which we actually get a glimpse of him behind a door or underneath a laundry basket as in "he hides from monsters...", yet in a blink of an eye he is gone as if we, the viewer alongside Feagin, are playing a game of hide and seek.
Furthermore, in her series Method of Mourning, Feagin still maintains a documentary approach to her photography; yet it is not in the sense to create a record of her quotidian life activities, rather she goes through the process of doing all the things her mother would do as an approach of mourning her mother. Initially, Feagin did not intend to make this series into a project for she even makes the comment that “the subject matter feels too personal for me to photograph or even reveal”, but it later became a necessity for her to come into an acceptance of what had happened. Within this body of work, she merges both self-portraiture and still life with interesting close-ups as with Being Martha, which reflect her desire to both tell a story and prompt questions towards the viewer.

 “The remnants of a battle…” series "A Boy Named Laughter"

   archival pigment print (2017)14x14
"he hides from monsters..."  series A Boy Named Laughter

   archival pigment print (2017)14x14

Being Martha series Method of Mourningpigment prints, 18x27
My Body Was Too Heavy To Leave My Bed series Method of Mourningpigment prints, 18x27


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