We were told that every photo you take is a self portrait. Then we were told that we had to create a photo series of 5-7 images and write an Artist Statement. I decided that I needed to push myself with this project and photograph the one thing that does not like being in front of the camera and do the one thing that I had never truly attempted. I'd take self portraits. I was here to jump out of the box, well here we go. I decided that my Self Portraits would tell the story of my time in Missoula without my kids. My Artist Statement is a letter to them.
Dear Malaika and Liam,
It was eleven weeks in the summer of 2015. Malaika you were eight years old and Liam you were six. It was a summer that I would probably never truly know or understand what your emotions, your frustrations or even your joys were towards me. I will always wonder what you would tell me if you were old enough to share your deepest thoughts. But here’s the thing. I can share with you what it was like for me, in words and photographs.
You stayed in Seattle and I went to Missoula. This was the hardest decision I had to make, but we had the support and I knew that you were two of the strongest kids out there, and that someday you would understand what this was going to mean for us all.
I was scared, excited and jumping for joy that I had the opportunity to finally attend RMSP. It had been my dream for over 9 years.
I was sad, depressed and lonely that I was not with you everyday. I just wanted my morning cuddles, my constant kisses and even the excited shrieks.
I was appreciative, thankful, and glad that you were safe. I was walking into an unknown but you had your dad, your cousins, your friends and most importantly each other.
I was angry, confused and holding onto the guilt of not being with you. I was missing you and all of the wonderful things that you were experiencing. I wasn’t there to help you though a tough situation.
I was happy, relieved and grateful. I would meet so many wonderful people, I would talk to you on FaceTime, write you letters every week and I would be learning.
I was me! I learnt more about photography, I played my guitar, and I grew as an individual. I would come home to you more in love with the art that I am constantly seeking and more in love with being your mother. I look forward to exploring and having adventures with you both.
Thank you for the summer of 2015 – thank you for being my biggest fans and for being the best of me.
I love you, Mummy