Lissy grew up in a small town in Canada between a cornfield and a tall forest, and frequently played pretend in between them. Her interest in photography began at the age of 12, spurred by the obsessive fear she would one day forget her entire life did she not document it.
As a teenager she became far less fascinated with documenting life and far more intrigued with escaping it. By creating surreal landscapes and building elaborate blanket forts, she hid from the trials and tribulations of teenage life until, at the age of 18, she moved to New York City to pursue a professional career in photography.
Now her work focuses on the combination of her two loves: documentary and surrealism. Combining forces to create whimsical imagery that still centers around every day life. Her work is often inspired by the vivid colors of early childhood, reoccurring dreams, the blurry way we see things when we are either too happy or too sad, and the soft hands of the high renaissance.
Her work has been exhibited in New York, London, Toronto, Boston, Munich, Detroit and Guatemala City.
“Home” + “Grove Street”
2012 – 2017
This is a personal series that will continue throughout my years depicting the places I call home in my lifetime.
2013, Age 19 (Home): I’ve been thinking about moving the last couple weeks. Or maybe even longer. It’s been in the back of my mind since I began to recognize people on the street. I’ve been in this apartment for 9 months. That is the longest I’ve ever stayed in one place since leaving my childhood home. I’m not used to things being familiar and sometimes I feel uneasy. I’ve been leaving the city a lot the last couple months; going upstate with friends, taking NJ transit to Little Silver to shoot a music video, hopping on 20 hour trains to Chicago to see my love, edging ever slowly away from New York. My Home is so many different places now and with so many different people. People keep hiring me to leave. To shoot in Toronto or DC or wherever. I used to get anxiety. Homesickness. Now I only sleep well on moving trains or with my face pressed up against a bus window on my way to see another fragment of my family. I don’t need a big change, I want to move down my street. A subway stop or two away. Somewhere I don’t recognize every face in my local bodega. Somewhere I can continue to expand my knowledge of this city and myself and what I want and where is home and who are my friends and where am I going.
2014, Age 20: I’m going to Oregon again in 5 days. I calculated today and I’ve spent 4 months of the last 6 months of this year on the road traveling to little bits of my family or shooting and stressing for clients or up in Oregon with my love. What’s the point of a home anymore? Why was sleeping in the living room of a foreign apartment for two months home and why was 4 hours of buses and trains upstate to see my mother speak at a conference home? Why did I cry when I left her and my brother that week more than I ever did leaving New York? When did I start calling New York my home instead of Canada? Why is it when I get off at Brooklyn Museum on the 3 train or Morgan or 8th Ave on the L I can feel my feet pull me to my old homes and haunts and I can picture walking down that street a million times and I can be 17 or 18 or 19 or 20 but it always feels the same? I’ve realized home is becoming muscle memory to me, and I’ve been having spasms lately.
2016, Age 22 (Grove Street): Home really feels like home these days. Sometimes I wake up to children playing loudly in the streets or car alarms going off or the construction crew diligently tearing down the house across the street and I yearn to be in a small orange tent surrounded by forest, or on a train heading south, but mostly every step I take I feel roots sinking in but I keep tearing them free just to keep things interesting. I wake early these days and I often lug my equipment to different parks in Queens and spin around in the woods in a blue dress and remember what it was like to be 17 and stringing up paper stars in my basement. Some day soon my childhood home won’t exist anymore. I don’t know if I’ve ever been more unsure about what Home is, or more certain of it. I’ve noticed as I look back on my previous commentaries on this series how frequently I mention travel as a means to understand Home. I’m not sure of the significance of this yet, but I am trying. I don’t know how to ask the four walls that I’ve called home over the last few years to give me the same monumental joy of waking up in a new city alone and curious, and I don’t think it’s fair to. But I know home is wherever he is, wherever our pink and blue towels hang next to each other and I trip over his slippers going to the bathroom in the middle of the night. All I know is I’ve never felt as comfortable and as free in my Home as I do in This Home, so that’s got to count for something.
To view more of Lissy’s work please visit her website.