When facing personal difficulty, even tragedy, it is not uncommon for a person to seek help from a therapist to peel back the layers of events to understand and overcome psychological barriers. Like a therapist, I am interested in how life experiences shape our being, our inner essence. My background as a scientist led me to the practice of making X-rays, which allows me to uncover secret truths beneath the surface.
As a New Orleans native, I felt the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina personally; my family was profoundly affected by the storm. We suffered not only the loss of physical possessions but endured psychological damage as well. Four years after the storm I found my grandmother’s ruined doll collection.
The dolls had been submerged in water for two weeks. I began to X-ray them both as objects to document and preserve. I was curious to see how the damage looked on the inside. I was surprised by what I found within— nails, pins, hooks, springs holding them together, lost objects, safety pins, and pieces of jewelry.
The dolls have an aura that is almost human, with internal workings that chronicle a life lived, a spirit. Sometimes they have strength; others, broken hearts. Making the photographs helped me move beyond my grief. The X-rays aren’t documents of decay and loss but stories about what can be recovered and saved, what can be found, seen, and kept. It is my hope that viewing these images created from X-rays will provoke the viewer to explore the depth of their relationships and experiences within themselves and the world around them.