JEN DAVIS

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I live in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, New York City. I decided to photograph myself in 2002. I started with self portraits during my last semester in undergrad at Columbia College (ed. note: BFA Photography). I felt like it was time to turn the camera on myself. Prior to this I was making portraits of one person over a long period of time.

This project is about my place in society and the judgment I felt from men and women and how I felt that I did not fit into this mold of beauty. It was time to articulate my insecurities through photographs, and from the moment I started, I have not stopped.

I was born in Akron, Ohio in 1978. Two years later me and my family moved. We landed then in Illinois. A lot of moving in my life. From Illinois to New York, then back to Illinois till ‘93. At that point my family moved to Arizona. When I was done with high school, I packed my belongings and headed to Chicago. I stayed there the longest, 9 years, then New Haven for graduate school and now in NYC.

I still remember this box of family photographs. I would spend hours editing the images, cataloging them by day, night and event, label the backs with the information that I knew. I still remember the ivory color of the box and the way it smelled. The box is long gone now. My mom has now put the photographs in a different box; the house where I would construct my edits is also gone. This took place in the house in Illinois. The room that I would sit in was my dad’s office, by the window. I also remember the way the curtains smell.

I went back to the house in 2002, knocked on the door hoping that the family that lived there currently would let me in. They did, and armed with camera photographed the house, and the things that remained that I had memories of. Most were gone at this point, however the curtains were still up.

The message that I wanted to send when I began the project was to look at myself, subjectively. The camera does not lie, however one can when looking in the mirror. I saw the camera as this machine that could transcribe my thoughts and opinions on society without prejudice. I wanted to be looked at and desired by the opposite sex and realized that this was missing in my life. Leading me to question ones beauty and if beauty could be seen within someone of a larger size. I felt that society judged me based on my size, and I wanted to challenge this in the work.

I love living in New York, and have no immediate plans for relocating. I might eventually, but am very happy now. My favorite place in New York is Boat Bar. Favorite Galleries, too many. I love MoMa. I use the Mamiya RZ 67 film camera. No digital yet! Photographers I like: Bellocq, Diane Arbus and Brassai.

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jen davis

*Thanks to:
Gustavo Lozano

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