It’s been a solid week now since my MFA residency at New Hampshire Institute of Art, and I’ve had some time to process a few things. The first thing I want to do as I return back to my daily, professional, “real world” life is share with as many people as I can, the work of photographer(artist) Lori Pedrick. Her community project Growing Up Girl (click to visit her website), celebrates the “individualism, beauty, and empowerment of women.” Instead of explaining her project to you, I want to encourage you to visit her website http://growingupgirl.website . View the photographs, read the stories, and listen to the individual voices of these beautiful women.
Below is the transcript of a short reading I did in response to Lori Pedrick’s work. It was presented at NHIA’s MFA graduation ceremony this month.
A naked pear in a printing press.
Like fingertips spread, holding the curled toes of a baby.
Jumbled vulnerability between pores and hair follicles.
Flesh on flesh.
Listen now, as I place my words, like I place my body here, naked, behind this pulpit, behind this microphone that speaks my voice back to me in a way that is intolerable to me; listen as I place my words, not between periods, but pauses and stops in the quiver of my voice, the stumble of my skin, the brushstrokes of eyes, naked in front of eyes that don’t know me, naked in front of the blackness behind me, vulnerable in my own power.
See the blank space-
Like an end mark.
Not a period, but a baby.
Not your version of prescribed grammar-
Beauty, not in the way you look or don’t look-
Beauty, not in the way you talk, or read, or hold eye contact perfectly-
But BEAUTY, as in space, like words between periods.
Edit me if you wish.
I will listen.
But I can’t promise anything will change just for you.
I’ll will say this, the cards here WERE stacked, like a catacomb making the air around me stagnant, but they are falling.
From Lori Pedrick:
I would like to take a moment to thank each of the women who’ve participated in this project. It takes incredible strength and courage to be as open and as vulnerable as you have been throughout the collaborative process. It is my hope that these stories can inspire confidence in women of all ages.
If you are interested in being part of this project, contact Lori Pedrick via e-mail @ email@example.com