The Things We Leave Behind - A Personal Project


Material possessions are an unavoidable reality; on our travels and throughout our lives we collect things. But these things aren't, at least for me, just things. I am a very sentimental person and with every object there are a multitude of feelings and memories. When my mother died she left me a lot of things - beautiful things. In spite of my efforts to reduce the amount of things that I own I have had a very difficult time parting with all these beautiful objects. With this new photography project, I am exploring the beauty in these things and creating something that goes beyond the object and is deeply personal.

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This first image I created for a class assignment and I never thought I would do anything more than that. It's my mother's wedding china, which even though I find it beautiful I have only used a handful of times. The dishes for "special occasions" that rarely see the light of day became so much more to me in this image that also combines flowers (my mom and I owned a flower shop together) and butterflies (something that gained new meaning for me when she died).

Roses and Butterflies

The second image became the heart of the project and what future images will be modeled after.

  1. There are fabrics, which add both color and texture, because my mom collected beautiful fabrics for the purses she made and many of them are still in my closet
  2. An organic item with sculptural qualities that symbolizes life, death and impermanence
  3. A piece of pottery, since both my mom and I have a fascination with handmade ceramics
  4. Three additional, personal, things of hers that I have found

It takes hours of arranging and adjusting each of the pieces until I feel that the composition is just right. The whole process is very therapeutic and calming and it is helping me to deal with the loss. Cleaning things out and making something new with them is part of the healing and in doing so I am discovering that it's as if my mother and I are creating this together.