Issue Inspiration: Melissa Bernazzani's Series Illusions of Motherhood

This is the first edition of our new blog series titled "Issue Inspiration". Our aim is to give instant film artists and readers examples and motivation for our current call-for-artwork. For Issue #4, our focus is "Combining Instant Images: Diptychs, Triptychs, and Collage". Today's inspiration comes from Melissa Bernazzani. Remember that the deadline to submit work for Issue #4 is April 15th, 2015. Visit our submissions page for more details! 

Melissa Bernazzani is a mother of two boys and artist residing in Traverse City, Michigan. Born in California, Melissa served in the U.S. Army for over eight years as a public affairs specialist, main duties including photojournalism. She later studied Art History and Photography at the University of North Florida, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree. Melissa continues to enjoy learning new photographic techniques, especially in the realm of analog film. She spends most of her time focusing on family life and trying to capture these fleeting moments through the camera lens. Melissa began experimenting with emulsion lifts in an effort to continue to create art – balancing her love of photography with her family life. Through this process, she can experiment with photography alongside her children without the use of hazardous chemicals.

"Illusions of Motherhood is an exploration of finding one’s sense of calm within the chaos of expectations and stereotypes associated with motherhood. Women are bombarded with unrealistic expectations of perfection in terms of personal identity and stereotypical responsibilities, and if one does not meet all these pressures, their value is diminished. Often “women’s work”, such as domestic responsibilities and care of children, is not valued in American society, creating negative connotations associated with such work and the reducing the role of female identity. These images represent the beauty found once one has resigned to the calm of existence. Although these images capture the seemingly mundane activities of domestic life, each represents a single moment in time that can never be replicated. These fleeting moments have true value to ones soul, and the beauty may be missed in the chaos."

"The integral film medium lends itself to this project in that it does not provide instant satisfaction, unlike the societal expectations. Each photograph takes approximately 45 minutes to reveal the image, so the moment is captured at that time the way it was meant to be – no remakes – such is the art of motherhood. These moments are truly fleeting, and one can only do the best she can in that instant and move on to the next. Each collage pattern is apparently simple and repetitive, like the subject matter represented, but as one looks deeper – resigning to the calm, differences appear and the individual beauty of each moment is revealed. It is easy to get caught up in the continuum of adverse societal expectations of female identity, but looking between this chaos is the real value and beauty."