Photolucida: Kerry Mansfield: Expired
Born in New Jersey, Kerry received degree in photography from UC Berkeley and continued to CCA (California College of the Arts) to refine her sensibilities for space and volume by studying architecture. The combination of both fields led her back to photography where she has since explored the relationship between space, boundaries and the concept of “home”. Kerry has exhibited throughout the United States, Europe, and South America garnering several national and international awards including the Lens Culture Single Image Award, First Place International Photography Award in the Fine Art Professional Self-Portrait Category, the Worldwide Photography Gala First Place Storyteller Award and a spot on the Shortlist in the Professional Documentary Portrait category for the 2012 World Photography Organization (WPO) Awards.
The Japanese term “wabi-sabi” is described as the art of finding beauty in imperfection and of accepting the natural cycle of growth, decay and death. But unlike the American culture focused on spectacle, wabi-sabi is underplayed and modest, the kind of undeclared beauty that waits patiently to be discovered. It’s found in time-worn faces of expired library books that have traveled through many hands, and across county lines until they have reached their final resting place at ex-library warehouses where safe harbors are found in Costco-sized rows of “discards” and “withdrawns” rising within inches of the ceiling.
The volumes documented in “Expired” serve as specimens akin to post-mortem photography in the Victorian Era when family members only received the honor of documentation upon their demise. Each picture serves as an homage calling out palpable echoes etched into the pages by a margin-scrawled note, a yellowed coffee splatter or sticky peanut butter and jelly fingerprints. It’s easy to feel a sense of abuse and loss, but they say much more. They show the evidence of everyone that has touched them, because they were well read, and often well loved. They were not left on shelves, untouched. Now they have a new life, as portraits of the unique shared experience found only in a library book. We must take time to celebrate the swiftly disappearing, unique communal experience offered by library books as it’s quickly replaced by downloads, finger screen-swipes and plastic newness. If you listen carefully you can hear the aching poetry calling from tattered pages that carry the burden of their years with dignity and grace.
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