I can’t imagine how rewarding it must have been for Elizabeth Siegfried when she stumbled upon a forgotten box of 16mm film at her family’s summer home. She immediately knew she had unearthed something truly special. The discovery allowed her a window into her own past and family history, witnessing relatives in summer pursuits, animated and moving. Elizabeth has created a project about those films, Termina, where in the last grid, she includes herself, bringing the family tree full circle. Elizabeth rececently opened an exhibition of Termina at The Art Space Gallery in Huntsville, Ontario that runs through July 29th.
I am also featuring work from her Off-Season
Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Elizabeth lives and works in Toronto, Ontario. Known for her work in self portraiture and photographic narrative, Elizabeth has worked with the historical process of platinum for twenty-five years and has exhibited her images in Canada, the US, Italy, Germany, Japan and Mexico. In recent years, she has expanded her mode of presentation to include iris and other archival digital prints. Her work has been published widely and is held in many significant collections.
Termina consists of four grids devoted to the leading women of each generation in Siegfried’s family. The first three grids of historical imagery present her great-grandmother, grandmother and mother. The fourth grid consists of the artist taken between 1987 and 1992 and includes three recent self-portraits.
The films shot by her family between 1922 and 1945 were in remarkably sound condition. She transferred them to digital video, downloaded them to her computer and created Termina, a photographic installation that tells the story of her diminishing family tree and contemplates the ending of one branch of Siegfried’s family lineage: her own.
Still from Termina
Termina addresses a reality that resonates with many people today. It asks questions and provokes dialogue about the choice to bear and raise children, the future of family in both personal and universal contexts and the emotional implications of these realities.
Stills from Termina
Off Season explores usually active locations during times of dormancy. In these technology driven, overcrowded, chaotic times, the images offer us quiet spaces to breathe, observe and contemplate—to bring us back to ourselves.
Each image suggests that ambiguous state of mind in which one is not certain whether something has ended or something is about to begin. In that captured moment there is no certainty, only the timeless hovering of possibility that reflects on the past while at the same time suggesting the future.
Images from Off Season