An experimental film about my great-grandmother, Blanch Johnson, and the haunting that occurs when viewing photographs.
An excerpt from my Artist's Statement on the piece:
One of the few things in life we all know for sure is that death is inevitable. We cannot hide from it, nor can we escape it. At some point, someone we know will die: maybe a family member, best friend, work colleague, or one-time acquaintance. The loss of this someone leaves an indelible hole that is not easily filled. The closure needed to move on is often unreachable.
I have had the great fortune of only losing one person I knew. She was my great-grandmother. I spent every Sunday of the last seven years of her life with her, just shy of half of my life at the time of her death. Our births were separated by 80 years but we shared a connection. She shared every story her then old mind could recall, from the time she was in school until I was learning to walk. Her death devastated me. While I had heard all these stories from her life, there was so much more I did not know. I regretted being a passive listener to her tales and not asking questions. I tried to reconcile with it all. I was lucky enough to have spent so much time with her, I told myself, but I was nevertheless haunted. Haunted by a photograph, perhaps the most haunted of all mediums. A photograph of my great-grandmother at her 90th birthday party sits on an end table in my living room. Avery Gordon in Ghostly Matters declares that to her, “the whole essence… of a ghost is that it has a real presence and demands its due, demands your attention,” (p. xvi). The photograph on the end table is just that.
Blanch is my response to the ghost my great-grandmother. It is my hope for closure.