A Visual Autobiography of Abuse & Neglect came about during my junior year at the University of Nevada, Reno while I was in the advanced photography program. I had been creating several photographic projects that were similar thematically but not focused on me specifically. My advanced photography professor, Peter Goin, noticed the theme in my other photographic work and inquired about it. I explained my history to him and that I felt a strong need to do a photography project based on that history. Peter Goin encouraged me to turn the focus inward, so I did. In October of 2000, while in my contemporary art class, I saw a flyer about a grant for scholarly research and creative projects funded by the Vice President of Research and Academic Affairs, so I decided to apply.
About two to three weeks after I applied, I received a letter from the grant committee stating that they would like me to explain why I had chosen art and photography as the method for telling my story, so I submitted a second letter explaining why art was my choice for this project. After a month and a half of waiting, I was told that the grant committee had accepted my proposal. I was also informed that I was one of two artists to ever receive the grant.
It took a little more than two years to complete this project due to the time it took to print the forty-three images as well as the other photographic processes I used to accomplish the final product. The images were created using 35mm black and white film, which I developed myself, and the negatives for the text on the images were created using the C-41 process. The items were photographed in the photography department lighting studio.
The image below is the artist statement that goes with the project. It explains what the project is about and why I chose to dot it. It is an integral part of the project. The artist statement was one of the most difficult things I have ever created.
The images to the right are as follows: top left: Grant Flyer, top right: Peter Goin's Letter of Recommendation, bottom left: Second Grant Proposal Letter, and bottom right: the Grant Acceptance Letter.
Please click on one of the images to read the letters full sized. The image will open in a new window for your convenience.
During the time this project was created I was still in my first marriage. My name at that time was Catana L Barnes.
Second Grant Proposal Letter
Letter of Recommendation
Christmas card sent by my grandmother with a reminder of the event when I was 2 years old.