As I looked through artist Rachel Woroner's photos, after reading a brief statement, one word seemed resonate as I landed on each one: truthfulness. She expressed that she is drawn to the "evocation of emotion and truthfulness" of photography, and not only did that description represent my own attraction to photography in general, but also how that objective/sentiment manifests itself in Woroner's work. Dishes in the sink, a broken lay-by bar sign, or the effervescent light just before dark places the viewer inside of a moment that the artist imbues with a quiet significance.
I took the liberty of meshing together photographs from a couple of series for this post, Odemira and How Still Everything Seems, both of which seem to take the daily routine, the natural course of time--and of life--and distill overarching, universal concepts down to simple truths. She captures people in their everyday activities, stopping in the moment with the photographer as if reflecting on the experience themselves. Nothing seems forced in Woroner's easy style, and yet there are moments of understated tension, like the dead mouse in the matchbox. We find a small death, another truth, and yet the more I consider this image, the more I wonder at my first impression of smallness. Is a death small simply because it has gone unnoticed or undocumented? The fire hasn't been ignited yet, but when it does, this mouse will cease to exist altogether. Laid into the matchbox, Woroner's photograph memorializes this moment that a mouse, that quintessential insignificant creature, was laid upon a funeral pyre.
Woroner explains that she aims to capture both tension and stillness in her images--elements which play off one another to create a deeper understanding of small moments. The tension is not unsettling in the slightest, but reflects the inherent tensions of daily life that we experience, and perhaps forget to think of on a daily basis: coming and going, day turning to night, lights on and lights off. The sun sets, but a storm may be rolling in. The light hits a glass on a table. A walk to the market results in a second for reflection. Woroner approaches her subjects and her practice with intimacy and tenderness, which show in both her portraits and landscapes. Through the softness of residual light in the approaching darkness or the easy attitudes of her figures, she carefully weaves in a sentimental thread to mesh surroundings and portraits into a quiet expression of memories we can almost imagine are ours.
Rachel Woroner is originally from Toronto and earned a BFA in photography from Concordia University, Montreal. She is now based in London. Find more information and work at rachelworoner.com.