Edith Young is a photographer, writer and designer, pursuing a BFA in the Rhode Island School of Design’s Photography department. Born in New York City in 1993, she is now based in both New York, NY and Providence, RI, with plans to return to Manhattan following graduation. Before attending RISD, Edith studied at Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass. and the Oxbow School in Napa. Her work entangles photography, textiles, and text.
“188. How often I’ve imagined the bubble of body and breath you and I made, even though by now I can hardly remember what you look like, I can hardly see your face.”
– Maggie Nelson, Bluets
“American Flamestitch,” takes shape as a collection of large-scale portraits of the artist’s intimates. This body of work, made up of images from Edith’s family archive and photographs taken in the artist’s studio, revolves around the art historical ceremony of a subject sitting. Aspiring to narrow and soften the boundaries between photographing and painting subjects, Edith put her hand back into the work by using a wand-like hand scanner, and later a flatbed scanner, to re-photograph the portraits, relinquishing the control of the studio session by performing a blind action with a camera that has no viewfinder. As a consequence of re-photographing the images with the gesture of a hand, a hypnic jerk appears in the photographs, demonstrating the slipperiness of identity in portraiture and leaving indications of the medium’s shortcomings on the image. The scanner’s chromatic aberrations appear almost as visual cues of amnesia, or of the muddiness of memory (cerebral, digital, analog, and otherwise), while also hinting at portraiture’s infidelity to personality. The photographer is at once the artist in front of her subject in the studio and the trembling archivist in the back room, fucking things up. These portraits simultaneously relieve and confront the mind’s inability to conjure the static image of a face, a surface always experienced in motion, from memory. “American Flamestitch” hopes to strike up a conversation with the rich legacy of centuries worth of portraitists, from Diego Velázquez to Robert Henri to Lucien Freud to Alice Neel to Alex Katz.
To view more of their work please visit their website.