Elisabeth Blair is a feminist, poet, multidisciplinary artist, and podcaster. She has been an artist-in-residence at ACRE, Wildacres, Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, and the Atlantic Center for the Arts. She hosts a podcast about women who compose contemporary classical music, and strives to advocate for artists who do not benefit from the white cisgender patriarchy. www.elisabethblair.net
"My visual work is based primarily on improvisation - on following the pen rather than preconceiving - and on loose associations. My many mistakes are guideposts which determine where a drawing goes next. I create as a way to process darkness into something tangible, something able to be crumpled, something funny and/or laughable."
These photos came about after reflection on the smart phone camera as a form of archiving our lives. All of these photos were taken on an iPhone over the past few years because I could not afford an actual camera, the accessibility of this form of photography is very important. Whole revolutions, lives, and performances are now all documented through our iPhones, Snapchat, Instagram, and eventually on Facebook, in a way that is so easy to do that it's accessible to people of all backgrounds and experiences. I've been in parts of the world in which people didn't necessarily have direct access to clean water or food, yet they had smartphones in which they could document their lives. This documentation of our daily experience is what brought this project around, thinking about how grateful I am for my friends and being able to be a part of their lives. All of these photos are pictures of my friends existing and allowing me to document their existence in the most accessible way I know how, through my iPhone.
growing from ashes
Cacti and palm varieties some how sustained life on Caladesi Island despite being torched. The purposeful flames provide regrowth to plants and even though they are surrounded by death and decay, many still thrived.
In Willoughby, Ohio there is a white hut on the side of the road and they sell handmade ice cream in store bought waffle cones. They do not have Superman flavored ice cream.
If your shoes do not have laces, they can’t come untied on the escalator. If your coat doesn’t have buttons, they can’t fall off on the train and roll under a stranger’s seat.
This last year or so has been pretty tough for a lot of people, and it never hurts to be nice.
"The inspiration towards my photography usually comes from the rawness of human nature, adventure, and of course nature itself, and how they intersect. I have an appreciation for documented memories, and within that, bold details and realness, and in these photos I hoped to capture the joy and solace felt in adventure, plus the beauty in black boy joy."
“Blazing fires,” yelled the Preacher. “Blazing fires will purify you! Just go on– walk through them a sinner and exit a saint!”
We smiled and we clapped.
The next day, we all lit our homes on fire and strode through our front doors into the flames.
Oh, how it hurt! How it burned– how we melted! We all rolled on the ground, writhing and screaming.
The Preacher tore off his face and his bloody skull laughed at us from our front yards.
the hospital room
The Hand of God reaches down into my shadowy inferno and yanks me out like an elevator going up, up, up.
I am a prophet and no prophets need eyes. We see the darkness and walk through heavenly fire.
So, I blindfold myself with white bandages.
A black serpent has curled up inside my head. I feel it inhaling my clean air then exhaling its own polluted smoke into my lungs.
On a Friday, I tried to gouge out my eyes so it could escape from my skull.
Despite all the blood, it still hasn’t moved.
As a gift for my sacrifice, the Hand of God touched my blackened eyes and taught me how to see like angels do.
I awoke on a Sunday in a white room dressed in a white robe.
"The project of a summer began with the notion of freezing different objects and photographing the results under different lighting conditions to attempt to preserve the purity of colors as they may be seen in nature. I was restricted to a very small area of land, and had to use found objects in my proximity. After collecting flowers in the garden and freezing them, obtaining better results than I expected I began to add found objects, such as three abandoned and broken windows, old books, as well as different utensils. The purpose of the study was to observe the interaction of all these objects in different situations, under diverse lighting conditions, in the studio, and in the case of the images here, mostly natural light. "Church," is a photograph which I took at Salisbury cathedral in England, printed, then placed into water and subsequently froze. "Later," "Staining the View," and "Window Pain," use one of the windows at different stages of the study, as I later painted it with a number of found paints. The project thus began with a simple idea, and because of the restrictions of space, allowed me in fact,\ to further explore possibilities by including a number of other objects."