Melissa Nunes_Lecture: Rosalie Favell

I found a lecture done in 2010 by a woman named Rosalie Favell.  Rosalie Favell was a Native American photographer.  She never learned about her culture or native heritage when she was younger.  When she was young, she did not understand why her skin was so much darker than her mothers.   Later her mother told her she had Native American in her blood and that was when she decided she wanted to figure out who she was as a Native American. 

She started with her work called Portraits in Blood.  She wanted to understand her culture so she began to investigate.  She went around taking pictures of native women that reminded her of herself.  She called this work, portraits in blood because she was looking at her bloodlines in these pictures.  During the time she was documenting these pictures, she fell in love with a native woman.  The relationship did not end well. 

When looking back at her photographs all she could find were pictures of this woman.  She decided she wanted to put these pictures together.  She called this Living Evidence.  She had to ask permission to show this woman in her work but was denied.  So she decided that she would obscure her eyes with duct tape.  When she was in art school for photography she learned that she should never do anything with a photograph because it would destroy the natural image of it.  She learned that each photograph was precious. Before this she would write on the image.  It was big step for her to use the duct tape but it made the work stronger for her.  She said that it made the viewer have to wonder why the image was obscured and ask questions.  I found this work to be incredibly powerful.  Just having the image of this woman or the images of her and the woman it would not be as powerful.  It shows the hurt and the story that this woman and her lover went through.

She found she had all of these photographs and decided to make a book out of it and called this project Longing and Not Belonging.  She desperately wanted to know where she belonged so she put together images of individuals that were important to her.   She thought of this as a ledger book, which was a book Native Americans used to use to record battles. She filled it with pictures of heroic women.  Using these pictures she hoped to find meaning within herself and a place where she belonged.  But while looking at these pictures she decided that she needed to stop looking at others to find a hero but to look within herself and become the hero.  She decided that was the time to become the heroine and become a warrior artist like the people who made the ledger books.

She then used photo shop with her image and the image of her heroes and combined them making her a hero in her photos.  The rest of the lecture she showed us photos representing herself in photographs of people that inspired her or helped her understand her self.

Overall I felt like Rosalie was a very inspiring artist.  Her work is her passion and her culture.  It is her looking for and finding herself, which she lets us as viewers witness.  This lecture also reminded me of my own mother who did not really know where she came from and what her culture was.  She is a mix of many different ethnicities and only knew her family up until her great grandmother.  When I was about twelve she decided to investigate her heritage and made a photo book, which she made as a family tree starting with our family and moving back.  She did research and eventually found photos of her ancestors and learned exactly where she came from and felt like she could finally understand herself. 

This story reminded me of the story of Rosalie.  I think Rosalie is an amazing photographer and I would love to see more of her work.

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