Photography and Text by Emily Williams, Copyright 2020
I dedicate this series to my grandfather, Leon Williams.
Driven by my frustration with the passage of time without a singular place to call home, I started to think about the meaning of home—a feeling rather than a physical space. A feeling that I chased, both literally and figuratively, while running countless miles on roads both familiar and unfamiliar. Listening to the sound of my own feet, in part, lead me to this series.
As the series grew, it started to center around solitude, the feeling I always circle back to when meditating on home. I wanted to explore the range of emotions contained in solitude—from loneliness, to peace, to anger. I aim to create visual representations of quiet that convey and explore the nuances among feelings that come with large amounts of time spent alone.
My photography searches for the evidence of humanity—an unmade bed, an abandoned shoe, an open window, a dilapidated gate—to discover who was or will be in that space. I want to find places that mean something to whomever may have inhabited them but appear vacant at the moment they are photographed. I felt the mundane, uninhabited nature of these scenes best convey solitude.
In the first few months of working, I mostly photographed inside houses. I was drawn to the easily recognizable evidence of their inhabitants. Later, other spaces that were not as easily recognizable as inhabited, such as landscapes and abstract pieces, were incorporated into my work.
Throughout the year, I have been consistently concerned with the geometry of my compositions with the exploration of different patterns of light. How light shapes what we see, how it defines space, and how its presence and absence creates mood fascinates me.
I used analog and digital processes in making and printing my photographs. I have printed on 11 in. x 14 in. Ilford warm tone, silver gelatin paper, and made inkjet prints on Baryta Photo Rag paper of the same size. I started by printing on the Ilford warm tone paper in the darkroom, and found that it allowed for more detail to be visible in heavy shadows. I chose the Baryta Photo Rag because it was the closest digital equivalent. I have used both the analog and digital processes in order to print each photograph in the process that suits it best. The photographs are taken primarily with Kodak 400TX film, in both the 35mm and 120mm sizes; I have on several occasions used Ilford HP5 for my 35mm photographs. Both of these films have a wide exposure latitude, allowing me to push and pull them as needed and giving me the flexibility to shoot in a wide range of lighting situations.
My work is inspired by that of Abelardo Morell, mainly from his three series Childhood, Still Lives, and Light, Time, and Optics. He records light and shadow, patterns, and domesticity to create compelling photographs of the everyday. I draw aspects of my creative process from Haruki Murakami’s book What I Talk about When I Talk about Running, where Murakami seamlessly connects his work as a fiction writer with running.
About The Author: Emily Williams is a recent graduate of Haverford College majoring in Fine Arts and History. Class of 2020.