The Mirror with a Memory (2022)

A Passing Memorial
In this body of work, A Passing Memorial, I portray the natural life of animals we see and interact with within our environment. In this, I question the ways in which we treat the animals that live and die so close to humans. 
The images in this series span over four years and across various midwestern states. I encountered these animals during walks and often found them in various states of decay. There is a ritual to this process of walking, observing and photographing these animals. This series is meant to allow viewers to partake in this journey and observe in these same rituals as I have done. With the interaction comes remembrance, the act of memorial. 
My visual and cultural influences for this series come from observing our interactions with the environment. I think of how industrial development disrupts the environment that has forced deer, birds, bugs, and rodents away from their natural habitats and closer to our homes. Climate change has also caused migration routes of these animals to change, their paths permanently altered by human encroachment. 
In this work, I use both digital and analog processes to achieve my material goals. The images are made with digital cameras and later printed as digital negatives. I then create these images using the cyanotype process, on various types of papers, fabrics, and materials. Using the cyanotype process is important for me as it allows the images to have a second life, offering parallels between the materials and imagery. 
In A Passing Memorial, I propose that we stop to reflect on how we routinely brush off these creatures as just roadkill, and instead, offer the viewer a chance to treat them with the same respect as we do our own dead in western culture. Bury the dead, engage in funerary ritual, and celebrate their lives.
Celia Compton is a visual artist from St. Louis who currently resides in Peoria, IL. She is a BFA candidate in photography and is majoring in art history. She is set to graduate in May 2022. Compton currently works as a Photography Lab Manager in the Photography studios of Heuser Art Center and in the Cullom-Davis Library as a Student Worker. The majority of her professional experience resides in teaching and photography. Compton’s work centers on gender expression and the cycle of life, often inspired by artists like Claude Cahun or Cindy Sherman. Her medium of choice tends to be alternative photographic processes as well as mixed media projects. In May of 2022 Celia Compton will exhibit her collection of work for the photography capstone at the Peoria Public Library, as well as her BFA show at Hartmann Gallery.
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