Review Santa Fe: Alison Malone: The Daughters of Job
Photographer Alison Malone uses both audio and visual documentation to explore subcultures that are overlooked and often misunderstood in American society, and with the project she brought to Review Santa Fe, she is exploring a secret society known as Job’s Daughters. This fascinating and insightful project reveals what takes place behind closed doors in buildings that we drive by on a regular basis and never enter.
In 2008, Alison earned her Masters in Photography, Video and Related Media from the School of Visual Arts in New is the current recipient of the McKnight Fellowship for Visual Arts. She received her Bachelors of Fine Art in Photography from the Minneapolis College of Art & Design in Minnesota in 2002. She has exhibited nationally and internationally and received numerous grants, scholarships and awards including: 2014/15 McKnight Fellowship for Visual Arts, the Paula H. Rhodes Memorial Award, MJR film grant, School of Visual Arts Alumni Scholarship, PhotoLucida Critical Mass Top 50 in 2008, Artist Initiative Grant form the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Photography Book Now Honorable Mention, and was a nominated participant in Review Santa Fe.
She has been published in American Photography 24, The Collector’s Guide to Emerging Art Photography, Yvi Magazine, Esquire Russia, META magazine Germany, and various online journals. Her work is featured in numerous collections including the Museum of Fine Arts Houston and the private collection of Joseph Baio. This fall, Alison will have a solo exhibition at the National Heritage Museum in Lexington MA featuring “The Daughters of Job” work.
The Daughters of Job
For the past six years, I’ve photographed a group of girls between the ages of ten and twenty involved in a secret society known as Job’s Daughters. The girls are the direct blood relatives of Master Masons, a prerequisite to be part of this Masonic Youth organization. The group takes its name from the Book of Job, 42nd chapter, 15th verse: “And in all the land were no women found so fair as the Daughters of Job.”
My focus on this group comes from my own history—I was a member of it in the early 1990s. What I remember most from my experience is its intensity, an immersion into a social structure entailing a level of responsibility not usually required of young adults in today’s society. For this project, my interest is in the type of girl who finds comfort in ritual and its ability to allow her to disassociate from one world and become part of something much bigger than she is. I’m interested in meeting, documenting, and coming to know the current world of girls who enter and stay in this order. I approach these girls from the vantage point of an insider. With that perspective, I’m also interested in their sites of ceremony, built around the same principles of their Masonic family. The Freemasons’ focus on meticulous execution and order is manifest in sacred geometry— providing these spaces with what ultimately gives strength to the ties that bind the people in these organizations.
Much like a religious sanctuary, Masonic spaces, or Bethels, can lend a sense of discovery, meditation, and comfort. Each object within each room has a personality developed by the people who meet there. Mirroring the portraits of the girls, I look to render the character of each space, allowing nuance to surface from what on the surface might appear as a rigid structure.
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