Ties That Bind explores the nexus of family through three generations of females within my familial relations. Through portraits, environmental still lifes, and landscapes, this series examines the interconnectedness between my mother, three sisters, two nieces, and myself. As an extension of the traditional family archive of snap shots, Ties That Bind uses color photographs, video, and a one-of-a-kind artist’s book to explore the relationships between the women by examining family traditions, rituals, and the connection to a homeplace—the central or family home.

Ties That Bind examines ways that our identities interweave and manifest as a result of experiences together at our family home in rural Kansas. Inspired by Patricia Kline’s statement that “For most of us our identities are very much tied to where we grew up,” environmental still life and landscape images made within my family’s house and land reflect the visceral connection between the females and the land, home, and familial keepsakes and objects.

Intimate portraits capture the emotional, experiential, and physical bond found between we women. In her curatorial statement Not My Family Values, for an Art Photo Index Exhibition, Dr. Rebecca Senf states, “Family is at the heart of how we identify ourselves.” For the females within my immediate family and myself, the experiential and historical bond centered around the idea of a homeplace (and the belief that family traditions can only occur in that place, while among family and its keepsakes) greatly influences and informs our identities. Ties That Bind explores this idea through a visual investigation of we women in the family, objects within the house, the surrounding land, and family archives and traditions.