Collection: Emily Rosser, You are an Island, April 2-July 5, 2022

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Los Angeles, CA - Des Pair Books is pleased to present You are an Island, the first solo exhibition by LA-based photographer Emily Rosser, opening on Saturday April 2, 2022.

You are an Island is a fine art series focusing on the convergence of identity, memory, and place through the documentation of the natural world, objects of significance, archival imagery and found writings. By documenting her immediate environment in combination with her father’s archive, Emily Rosser brings her viewer into her internal struggle to find forgiveness and acceptance for the past. Her memories became intertwined with her father’s as she reinterprets history through his archive. This tension, or harmony and dissonance, is a driving theme throughout her series. There is a poetic and ethereal quality imbued in her photographs. Aesthetically, Rosser attempts to embody memory; her imagery is nuanced, subtle, refined, and nostalgic.

From the artist

In the summer of 2020, the world was falling apart, and I started the process of becoming myself. At the time, the only authentic and viable experience was the exploration of the local: my local. I was on an island in Northern Minnesota, a touchstone for my family. I had spent every summer on the island since I was born. It was undeniably an important place in my life and the world’s turn of events had led me back there.

I was surrounded by my father’s immense archive on the island, unraveling the secret contents of our lives. I rifled through his past memories and musings, filled with mistakes, heartbreak, secrets, joy; like opening a vault that had been kept closed for many years. By excavating these artifacts of my father’s history and experiences, I was able to better understand my own identity and to let go of a once-rigid narrative.

Photographically, I combined my father’s prolific memories with my own personal documentation of my natural surroundings. This gave way to a new process:  photographing my own world in tandem with uncovering my father’s world.

As humans, we sometimes fail to fully examine what has formed us, and instead find ourselves driven blindly to recreate it. This project was born out my yearning to better understand myself and my family. By looking back I was able to let go, which revealed my threshold to freedom. This series ultimately explores forgiveness. A healing meditation on family, memory, place, and self.