The Live Creature and Ethereal Things
The specific genesis of, The Live Creature and Ethereal Things, was my family’s move to suburban Chicago. I found myself an outsider in a town where I knew no one. This created in me a heightened awareness of how I looked and how people looked at me. I began to experience a conscious and constant feeling of being on display.
The Live Creature and Ethereal Things, chronicles the people that pass in and out of my daily life, including both friends and family, but is primarily comprised of strangers I approach on the street. My interests lie in exploring, in both a physical and emotional sense, the ways in which people choose to present themselves, and their environment, when they know they are going to be on display. Specifically focusing on the nature of longing, self-consciousness and image as a construction. Stylistically the images are inspired by European society portraits, which convey a sense of the sitter as part of a tableau created to be examined. As a culture now in the age of facebook and social networking, we are aware of our projected selves in a new way and the methods by which photographs can be used to shape people’s perceptions. There exists simultaneously the person that we are and the person we want to be, our self-presentation often dealing more with aspirations than reality. Each subject is allowed to dress in any way they would like and choose a setting they feel comfortable in, but the final image is a negotiation between my vision of the individual and the image of themselves they are working to project. At the end of the photo session, I give each subject the opportunity to write down a dream, although they are not required to do so. The dream statements allow for a parallel declaration to be made solely by the subjects, in the form of words rather than through their image. The meaning of “dream” is left up to the subjects to determine.
Tealia Ellis Ritter was born in Illinois in 1978. She was given her first camera, a Canon F-1, at the age of six by her father. After attending Columbia College Chicago, where she completed her BA in Fine Art Photography, she earned her MFA at the University of Iowa with a major in Fine Art Photography and a minor in Printmaking. Her work has been exhibited internationally, most recently by Taschen NYC, the Magenta Foundation as a part of Flash Forward 2009, at Humble Arts “31 Under 31” exhibition, the Griffin Museum, The Photographic Center Northwest and in the multimedia project, “Pause to Begin.” She now lives and works in the Chicago area with her husband Dave, their son Finn and dog Zoe. website