Polly Gaillard

Mommy/Daddy from Truth, Fear & Fabrication

Polly Gaillard comes to photography with a camera bag full of life experiences that she mines for series that include themes of motherhood, children, memory, loss and family. She manages to find the intangible poignancy and undiscovered beauty in living life that is layered and complex. I am featuring her project, Reframing; Motherhood, Memory and Loss. These color images reflect personal life transitions and observations.

Polly received a Master of Fine Arts in Visual Arts from Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2010 and currently teaches photography at Anderson University in South Carolina. She is also an Artist-Teacher for Vermont College of Fine Arts. In Summer of 2012, Polly will be teaching photography in Prague for the University of New Orleans Prague Summer Seminars.

Polly has exhibited widely and her exhibitions for 2012 include Reframing; Motherhood, Memory and Loss at the Vandiver Gallery at Anderson University in Anderson, SC and in a group exhibit entitled Alignments at Clemson University’s Lee Gallery in Clemson, SC.

Reframing; Motherhood, Memory and Loss:
Reframing; Motherhood, Memory and Loss is a photographic series documenting my daughter after my divorce from her father. I am interested in the awkward moments we share, some constructed and others observed as she plays and is unaware of the camera. I am also interested in how the divorce plays out in our lives both in subtle and startling ways as I observe her through windows, behind a sofa pillow, or in the shadow of my house. The awkwardness of childhood surprises me as I record fragments of her body through the lens. To me, those fragments refer to the severing of the family unit. I am intrigued by this half-life we share due to custody obligations. She is here and then she is gone.

My process of that exploration shifted to one of documentation including photographing remnants of her presence, or what remains after the presence is absent from the scene. Basically, I am interested in how one’s daily actions accrue meaning, or stand in for that person despite their absence. These remnants take shape of ordinary things: a plastic bag that contained chocolate, Barbie dolls in the bathtub, or the remains of breakfast in the late morning light. The remnants, either photographed or scanned become a marker of life left by a physical presence, in this case they represent the presence of my young daughter.

The physical remains are obsessively collected and documented in a way that refers to the difficulty of letting go and the thoughts of loss that follow. My interaction with the remnants is a way to preserve it through the photograph, committing it to memory. The photographs strive to monumentalize the remnants and comment on the significance of loss, memory and absence.