Siblings share a life, parents and genes that create an intimacy of circumstance. When you add personalities, lifestyle-choices and religion, the connection can grow deeper or strain to the point of a painful break.
My sister and I shared a childhood bed. We could not help but memorize each other’s bodies and have an awareness that only that kind of familiarity can foster. But as we grew older and sexuality became part of the equation, a gulf arose between us. The more I explored this new world of sexual awakening, the more she tried to stay innocent, static. I was curious. She was terrified. I wanted to know my body and desires. She wanted to suppress what she knew to be true.
My sister became a polarizing person in my life. I became a jezebel in hers.
We did not understand each other. Years later, she would come out as gay – shedding a lifetime of guilt and shame. It became clear that I was not the enemy. I had become an object of her self-loathing.
You See Me is a project about reconnecting with my sister. It began as a way to make space to talk and see each other and developed into a study of her during a pivotal period of self-acceptance.
Liz Arenberg is a photographer and educator living in Brooklyn, New York. She received her BFA in Photographer at Parsons School of Design in 2007, where she received honorable mention for the DataColor Scholarship for her series craigslist.org. In 2011, Liz received her MFA in Photography, Video & Related Media from the School of Visual Arts. Her series You See Me was featured in PDN 2011 Annual. Most recently, Liz was a participant in Review Santa Fe, Flash Powder Projects, the Eddie Adams workshop, and a fellow at the Vermont Studio Center. In 2014, Liz partnered with Galerie Vevais to produce a book of her portraiture. Currently, she is the co-director of the Crusade for Art: Brooklyn Chapter.