Tealia Ellis Ritter explores identity through family photos

Tealia EllisRitter TheModelFamily 11

Tealia Ellis Ritter lives and works in rural side of Connecticut, one of the northeastern region of the United States.

Her work has been exhibited internationally, most recently by Aperture, The New Yorker,  Ain’t Bad, Women in Photography, The Magenta Foundation, Catherine Edelman Gallery, Taschen NYC, Double V Gallery, France, the Swab Art Fair Barcelona and at Humble Arts “31 Under 31” exhibition. Her work also appeared in many publications, including The London Daily Telegraph, Mouvement Magazine, Stella Magazine, Bloomberg Pursuits Magazine and The Financial Times of London. 

Ellis Ritter’s work deals with the intersecting roles of the photograph as a personal document, a familiar marker of time, also to be understood as an object with a physical surface. Her interests lie in exploring in both a physical and emotional sense the changing nature of identity and intimacy over time. She is presently engaged in a long term project documenting family members in both a representative and abstract manner, with a focus on the physicality and vulnerability of the human body.

About ‘The Model Family’ – words by ‘Tealia Ellis Ritter’:

The series The Model Family is an ongoing exploration into identity through portraits of my immediate family. I am interested in the intimate progression of individuals over time and the ambiguity of the family photographs, specifically the one taking place considering a single image, a moment and how a context, an arrangement, or even their organization can affect the meaning represented by the images while affecting memory. 

The Model Family draws on an ongoing archive of images that I started to put together when I was in my early teens. Images are floating free and can be organized and reorganized into chapters. Chapters may operate chronologically but are more often presented as skipping through time. This skipping has something to do with the path memory often takes. 

A singular image may present multiple meanings in each arrangement, altering its own relationship to the group. Something like a time traveler in which revisiting the same moment in the own life multiple times, each time linked with a new sequence. Kurt Vonnegut in his novel called Slaughterhouse Five, describes looking at one’s life in this manner.  “Each clump of symbols is a brief, urgent message – describing a situation, a scene….There isn’t any particular relationship between all the messages, except the author has chosen them carefully, so that, when seen all at once, they produce an image of life that is beautiful and surprising and deep.”

Time to read
2 min
Words by
Published on
2 December 2019
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