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Kathryn Mayo

Artist Statement Submitted 2019

We Are Selma: The Selma Portrait Project looks at the connection between home and identity through imagery and storytelling. Residents of my hometown of Selma, Alabama were photographed using the wet plate collodion ambrotype process while audio recordings of their experiences were also captured. The project highlights Selma’s extremely complicated past as a pivotal placeholder in the rich history of the civil rights movement and Selma’s current day quest to move forward amongst such complex burdens. The slowness of the collodion process and the collaborative nature of the work honors the cultural currency of areas and cultures where communication is both key to unification and fodder for misunderstanding. The highly reflective quality of the glass plates allow the viewer to see themselves in each portrait, bringing to mind questions of personal responsibility, obligation and accountability, allowing the sitter and viewer to see themselves as "ancestor” and creator of their own legacy.


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