We got to catch up with our friend and client, Kris Davidson. Kris is an outstanding photographer + artist who is always on the go. If she isn’t on assignment for National Geographic or a commercial gig, she is working on personal projects that hit close to the heart. Currently, she is working on a photo series that outlines what it means to be an American within the contemporary landscape.
“This project, tentatively titled “Memory Portraits” is a new project, but one I have been meditating on for a decade or so. It looks at 1st and 2nd generation Americans and their memories/experience as they shape their American identities. The main portrait is shot with a medium format camera (and huge prints are made at LightSource SF). Then, I either get digital copies or photograph prints of snapshots from the subjects life and those are printed, too, and collaged in somehow, often in the attire.”
“Miguel, deported last year, here with his American-born son, he only had a few snaps to share. I collaged a picture of the US/Mexico border fence and the child’s mother holding him into his shirt. Miguel’s best friend drives the child down every month — they are photographed here on the Tijuana beach, mere yards from the border fence.”
“Americans originally came from all over the world, some by choice, others forced. All have been exquisitely displaced in the first generation, a feeling that fades to a more subtle ache, with each subsequent generation grasping at hyphenated identities to stave off a feeling of dilution. With a marked ambivalence towards a larger, confining national personality, individual American identity is decidedly acquisitive. Throughout their lives, Americans continually choose the defining markers of their individual identities, patching it on to what was started with, be it Mexican-American, Irish-American, African-American. The possibilities are truly endless. For Americans, storytelling — as individuals and as communities — is a pivotal aspect of claiming, shaping and asserting identity.”