Cart Search
submit Remember my login

2019 SPE Annual Conference: The Myths of Photography and the American Dream / Major support by The Joy Family Legacy Foundation

Looking for a chapter event?

Past SPE Annual Conferences

Melissa Borman

SPE Member since 2012
Member Chapter: Midwest

A Piece of Dust in the Great Sea of Matter

Four years ago, I suffered an injury that significantly limited my mobility for over a year. This injury instigated my interest in depictions of the body. I began researching images of the human figure in the landscape. After wading through historical and contemporary works depicting passive female figures, exposed to the elements and unnaturally posed against landscape backdrops, I set out to make images that critically engage conventional aesthetic associations between women and nature. With members of my community, including fellow artists, colleagues, and former roller derby teammates as subjects, I began making the photographs of women in the landscape I wanted to see.

In response to visual tropes traditionally used when depicting women in the landscape, the photographs illustrate a desire to engage with the natural world through intentional, subject-driven participation. In contrast to traditional figure studies or portraits, the work follows a series of protagonists through natural spaces, such as forests, lakes, prairies, and coastlines. The relationship between these women and their experience of their surroundings is grounded in their individual physicality. The protagonists demonstrate their agency as subjects by actively inhabiting these places; often integrated within the landscape, at times becoming engrossed with, struggling against, or even finding refuge in, their surroundings.

Untitled 1 from A Piece of Dust in the Great Sea of Matter

Untitled 2 from A Piece of Dust in the Great Sea of Matter

Untitled 3 from A Piece of Dust in the Great Sea of Matter

Untitled 4 from A Piece of Dust in the Great Sea of Matter

Untitled 5 from A Piece of Dust in the Great Sea of Matter

Email Sign Up

SPE email updates contain resources, news, and more!

About this piece

Comments about this piece

Dialogue and critique are important to the SPE mission.
Please join the conversation.

Exit Full Screen Mode