Ethan Murphy (US) "What's Left & What's Gathered" - Helphoto 2022



What’s Left & What’s Gathered
What’s Left and What’s Gathered is an exchange between Murphy’s late father and him that explores his relationship with identity and loss through collaboration with the absent body. This series examines a conversation ten years after the death, by visualizing various strategies that create a dialogue between Murphy and his late father. He is interested in how loss can lead to creativity and resilience over time. The series operates around two central questions: What is physically left to observe that informs the way you think about someone? How does the gathering of objects, ideas, and values impact your perception of them? The photographs were made in Newfoundland, mainly at a cabin that Murphy’s father purchased and left to his sister and him. The structure has always been a place for potential and creativity, and photographing there has encouraged him to engage with the space that was intended for growth. Newfoundland’s rural environment has served as a sense of place for them both, and returning there to photograph is a simultaneous return to his father. The cabin is documented undisturbed while using gesture and self-portraiture to activate the desolate space, suggesting posthumous collaboration and connection through image-making. Murphy has acquired many of his father’s possessions over the decade including his writing, mainly poetry from which Murphy has taken excerpts and used them as image titles. The recontextualized relationship between text and image connects Murphy and his father as artists, and anchors collaboration in the work. His father did not know him as a photographer, nor did Murphy know his father as a creative writer, and in this work, they can coexist. Murphy is interested in what common ground looks like between them, and the way that it is dynamic and manifests in multiple forms. By utilizing various image-making strategies in this body of work, including still life, self-portraiture and photographing in places that are significant to them both, the photos collectively communicate that coping with loss is multifaceted and ongoing.

Ethan Murphy is a photographer and visual artist from St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography Studies from the School of Image Arts at Toronto Metropolitan University. His work links identity and place by reflecting on the psychological impact of Newfoundland’s rural environment. Murphy’s work is conceived from a fluctuating perspective acquired from leaving and returning to the island of Newfoundland, enabling him to renegotiate his connection to its remote areas. He reconciles his relationship with identity, loss, memory, and family while examining the Newfoundland landscape post cod moratorium. Murphy has exhibited internationally, at the National Gallery of Canada, and was awarded the New Generation Photography award in 2019.

Ethan Murphy (US) "What's Left & What's Gathered" - Helphoto 2022
Ethan Murphy (US) "What's Left & What's Gathered" - Helphoto 2022
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