As a strong, optimistic, and creative woman, Tricia Collier has managed to produce a beautiful photographic untitled body of work using traditional black and white film. Collier has used poetic (and sometimes abstract) imagery to share the emotions she felt about her life-altering past.
Tricia Collier grew up in Wakefield Mass. After high school, Tricia entered the travel industry, but decided to change careers and pursue photography two years ago. Now Tricia is a 2014 graduate of the New England School of Photography where she studied fine art and editorial. She is also a proud mom of a 23 year old daughter. Tricia currently resides in Lincoln, Massachusetts.
Laura Knapp: Tricia, your photographs have such heavy emotional content that truly makes me wonder what was going on in your mind when you shot them. Amazingly, without showing any human forms in this body of work, I can easily picture you and your family in every image. Care to explain this body of work?
Tricia Collier: This was a journey into my past. My Mother started drinking heavily when I was about 12. She had 6 children, I was second to the youngest. Growing up I didn’t have that emotional support that a little girl needs from her Mom. When I was in my 20’s I married a man who was mentally and physically abusive.
LK: Did you know your project was going to be about this tough personal journey when you first started or was it a natural evolution of ideas? Was it a therapeutic experience to create this body of work?
TC: I never saw this coming. I started out street shooting with a twist of humor in most images.
But then, the second year of school came and one of the first images taken was “Mother”. This headstone inside a tree has been in my hometown my whole life and I never knew it was there. Then I walked a few feet and saw the bird wing in the lake, and then minutes later, I came across the broken pot on the cemetery plot. While I was taking these photos I was thinking about my Mom. I wondered if she was with me, providing some sort of spiritual guidance.
Then this project changed gears a bit to my ex-husband. This happened when I photographed the bunny facing the door. This was taken in an unoccupied home. I looked at the bunny facing the door and he looked like he was in time out, like he had done something bad. He looked ashamed. That is how I felt all these years.
With some emotional support from my classmates and my teacher I knew I was in a safe place to open up and keep going.
LK: Where were these photos taken? Were they all places you felt emotionally entwined with?
TC: At least five photos were taken in my hometown where I do have deep emotional ties. The others were taken in the town I live in now. My neighbors live in a very old house and they decided to move out. They gave me permission to photograph in their home until the new people moved in. They had 3 small children so there was a hint of children left behind which was beneficial to this project.
LK: What photo was the most important for you to capture?
TC: Probably the bunny. I never cry about my past, but I did when I shot this. I believe I had to go through all that I did to get to the place I am now. I have learned so much about myself. I have a beautiful 23 year old daughter and I am a good Mom. Also, seven years ago I met the most gentle and kindhearted man.
LK: Could you explain how you created the photographs that look a little more topsy turvy and dream-like? What made you decide to use those effects to expand on your ideas?
TC: I struggled artistically to get to those images. I wanted them to be a bit confusing. Up until then I had the tendency to be a bit literal. I had clear ideas on how I wanted to speak about my Mom but I struggled with how I wanted to speak of my ex husband, so I played with plastics and glass to came up with some images that really spoke to me.
LK: Do you see this as an ongoing body of work or is it finished? If it’s not finished, could you expand on any future ideas you have for the project, and/or what is your dream photo for the project?
TC: The blurred image with the house in the right hand corner has set the stage for my next line of work. I want to continue with the ethereal and abstract feel in my photographs. It will still be focused on my past. I just purchased a Holga and I am hoping that my next dream photo will come from that: an image with beautiful light coming from a dark and mysterious place.
LK: I noticed that there is no title for this body of work. Is there a reason why you have chosen to keep it untitled?
TC: No reason why. Maybe it will come to me in a dream.
LK: Thank you so much for everything that you have shared with our viewers, it means so much that you opened up about your work. It would only make sense if you left us with any parting advice for aspiring artists who wish to capture their emotional struggles in a meaningful way?
TC: Do anything artistically. Draw, write, paint, photograph, etc. with no agenda. If you have people you can trust with your heart, let them in to see. Remind yourself over and over that “you deserve the best”. Try to surround yourself with positive people and keep on making art. If you love it then it should not be hard to do it every day.
To see more of Tricia Collier’s work please visit: http://www.triciacollierphotography.com/