I was trained in a traditional photographic practice, but as I’ve gotten closer to understanding myself as an artist and what I am trying to express, I’ve found that I have wanted to incorporate sculptural elements in my work to include physical layers such as glass or photographic gels. This changes the experience of viewing a photographic image to get closer at what I’m interested in, which is a feeling that taps into the viewer's unconscious, or that unknown feeling that lies beneath the surface of our understanding.
For years my project’s concepts spoke through the metaphor of landscape photographs of places where energy can’t be seen, such as vortexes and sacred spiritual locations. As I’ve continued to work through my practice, and especially after having two children and transforming into a mother, I’ve been working through my own life’s traumas and have realized that the root of my interest is still in the invisible. Specifically, the invisibility of the subconscious and ideas around psychology, and particularly Carl Jungs philosophies. This opening in my practice has led me to my current work around the Jungian idea of “the Shadow”.
“In analytical psychology, the shadow is either an unconscious aspect of the personality that the conscious ego does not identify in itself, or the entirety of the unconscious; that is, everything of which a person is not fully conscious. In short, the shadow is the unknown side.” In this body of work, I layer images offset from each other on Plexiglass over inkjet prints to represent the idea of a shadow self, an idea the psychiatrist Carl Jung spoke about. The layering of Plexiglas over inkjet prints creates a slight physical and visual distance from the two or three images, representing the shadow or hidden part of oneself. Not only does the distance create an actual shadow, it is a literal repetition of the original image, suggesting the layering and complicated make up of ourselves.
Installation Photography by Jeff McLane