A few nights ago, I locked myself out of my apartment for the third time this year. While I sat trying to decide what to do, I was overwhelmed with the thought that my life seems composed of one mistake after another; that I am living through a seemingly endless series of disappointments. No matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to get it right.
Whether it is an awkward public interaction, unreal crisis, or moment of social disconnection, ordinary life is full of abrupt occurrences that create discomfort and isolation. It is often shocking and painful to discover how unsympathetic and harsh the world can be when we fail. The consequences of our transgressions, however small, leave us feeling inept and alone.
The photographs I create are all constructed scenes inspired by my own encounters with fear and failure. My interest is focused on these breakdowns of everyday life and the subsequent relationship with defeat. The sad humor and vulnerability in the situations I stage allow viewers to identify with the character I portray. In exposing my own shame and seclusion, I am giving name to the anxiety that plagues us all. The images then serve not simply as windows into embarrassment, but as representations of undisguised human nature.
Caitlin Atkinson lives and works in San Francisco . She received her arts education at the California College of Arts in Oakland , California. In 2004, she was awarded the James D. Phelan art award in photography. She had her first solo exhibit at Foley Gallery in NYC in February 2006 and has exhibited in group shows at SF Camerawork and Southern Exposure. Her work will be featured in an upcoming issue of CPW’sPHOTOGRAPHY Quarterly magazine.