The story behind the photo
In this photograph, a survivor of domestic violence is styling her hair, something she enjoys doing. Her hairstyle was one simple and yet significant way in which her abuser used to control her and her way of being in the world. Now even styling her hair gives her joy and satisfaction. The photograph is part of a photo-ethnographic series on the subject of domestic violence. Photo-ethnographies consist of portraits and testimonies.
The process of creating a series of photo-ethnography series is one of collaboration with those directly impacted by the theme being explored and also one of transformation for all involved. Before the photograph is produced, a questionnaire is provided for participants to reflect, respond, and give their consent for the photograph and testimony to be printed, displayed, and/or published. On the day the photograph is taken, the person being photographed is asked to write (or talk about) one thing they enjoy now that they were not able to do while under the control of their abuser. What this woman wrote is that she now can do whatever SHE pleases with her hair.
As a photo-ethnographer I like to work with participants in a way that allows for a dialogue and collaborative decision-making. Since I am still in the process of collecting testimonies and creating the images, I am yet to develop a title for this photo-ethnography series. For an example of previous photo-ethnographies please see photo-ethnographies of Latina Immigrants in: www.marimujica.com.
Tuesday, October 1, 10:30-11:00am / Domestic Violence Awareness & Prevention Month kickoff press conference featuring Photo Biennial preview and artist Mari Mujica
Tuesday, October 1, 5:30-7:30pm / Seeing Domestic Violence Through Photo-Ethnographies Opening Reception
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