A Mariner's Descendant


A consuming fear of water, shared between myself and three subsequent generations of women came into question when I realized that I came from a strong lineage of mariners. For centuries, hundreds of matrilineal captains and sailors traveled the New England coasts, and though I spent more than 20 years 1300 miles away, I found myself instinctively returning to the same shores that my ancestors have known. 


Only recently, after a death in the family, I was chosen as the inheritor of several familial documents. Boxes upon boxes of evidence became a link into my past. What was revealed, were dozens of men who were drowned or lost at sea, and the wives they left behind. I became interested in the relationship between my inherent fear, and their lived experiences, pulling from theories such as Jung’s Collective Unconscious and LaMark’s Soft Inheritance. 


In these photographs I play the role of a mariner's wife, stepping in the shoes of the past by assuming a role so common among my ancestry. I use the landscape that was once shared by my predecessors to construct imagery in attempt to understand the ties between one's proclivities and their inherited past. 


Salt Print Process, 8x10 
Using Format