The Coop Chelsea's photography project

Chelsea and I met in pre-k. We grew up on the same block, experiencing very similar struggles throughout our childhood. We both went on to different high schools, and without any knowledge of the fact we both ended up in Purchase College. Chelsea graduated May 2016 with a BFA in photography, and I have always been amazed by her artistic abilities. "The Coop" was her senior photography project, it was very symbolic for her and I experienced first hand how she turned her parents everyday routine into self awareness art.

"The story behind this project was to try and illustrate the routine of my parents lives now that I’ve reached adulthood. In doing this, particularly on this day, I felt I was learning things about my parents, that I didn’t know before. I was trying to understand them through the lens and in each photograph I came to a different conclusion, that always related back to myself."

"For this picture, I was thinking about my Mom’s weekly routine. I spent a lot of time following her around, telling her to act as if I wasn’t there. We had walked through the church path and she turned around to tell me she was going to go inside the church when I snapped the picture. This photo reminds me of how much bonding time I got to spend with my mom that day and how taking photos of her was my chance to get her to open up so I could learn more about her."

"I followed my mom into the church and stood around in the back wanting to discover what she experiences that keeps her coming back every week. At the moment she lifted her rosary, the light came in through the stained glass windows and I clicked the shutter. The moment was important for me because it’s when I realized my own religion was photography and I was there to worship the light. I think it helped me understand how she is able to keep her faith."

"For this picture, I was still following my mom around. I had felt like the pictures I had been taking all day had worn her out in a sense. She lit a cigarette, which I would usually object to, and I saw the way that it calmed her. Oddly enough, it calmed me too, to take this photograph and have a little more insight as to why she smokes and how it makes her feel."

"I was walking with my Dad, catching up with him, talking about ordinary things. I wanted to capture him on his daily walk. I remember passing by the gray wall, and thinking about how perfectly gray he looked that day with his sweater and his gray hair and how it all matched the conversation we were having. This is one of those moments that I love most about photography, when you feel like the person, even someone close to you, matches the feelings and emotions of the background."

Photo Credit: Chelsea Harkin

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