Ever Your Friend

Fingers curled around a cigarette, a hand on a shoulder, the tension in the space between bodies: the images in Ever Your Friend are fragments drawn from the files of the Lesbian Herstory Archives’ photo collection.  Few of the women represented in the collection are well known; many are anonymous.  What remains enigmatic about any of them exceeds what those photographs reveal. That their hands, bare arms, and the objects they hold have been isolated from the full context of the archival images parallels the ellipsis of our understanding.

Images in the Archives’ photo collection include ephemera from theatres and nightclubs, clippings from newspapers, portraits, publicity photos, photocopies, postcards, erotica, and the occasional tintype, but the photo collection overwhelmingly consists of vernacular photography documenting parties, protests and everyday lesbian life.  These images have largely not been seen outside of the Archives, as a process for securing the permissions for publication was not in place at the time the photo collection was established.  My tight focus on small areas of exposure in these photographs allows for the possibility of their reproduction, but also foregrounds the tone of a gesture, the intimate contact between women, and the significance of the lesbian hand as an instrument of sexual pleasure.

The title of this series is borrowed from the back of a portrait photograph that was inscribed “Ever Your Friend, Ida.”  The subtlety of that line and all that it might imply aligns with the desiring charge of this project:  to re-image profound embodiments, affiliations, and passions through the sparest of gestures.
laser cut paper
35 unique prints, each 32″h x 25″w framed
2014