Elizabeth Coetzee

Elizabeth Coetzee is a rising junior studying photography at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. A big portion of her current work has been focused on the conceptualization and social constructs of femininity and identity throughout the use of self-portraits. Her latest work has been geared towards memory as she revisits the past that symbolizes her childhood and upbringing. Elizabeth works in both film and digital mediums, as they each correlate with her individual projects. She also has a broad range of working in the photography medium, not only focusing on self-portraiture but she combines her work with inspirations from those of Nathan Lyons, Petra Collins, Todd Hido, and more. There is no style or genre of photography that Elizabeth does not dabble or experiment in. By the age of 20, her work has been exhibited internationally and published in multiple zines on both in print and online platforms. Along with photography, she also works in video and plans to pursue in art direction and/or cinematography upon graduating from Pratt Institute in May 2019.  Today we share her series, Home is Where I Am.

Home Is Where I Am

“The desire to go home that is a desire to be whole, to know where you are, to be the point of intersection of all the lines drawn through all the stars, to be the constellation-maker and the center of the world, that center called love. To awaken from sleep, to rest from awakening, to tame the animal, to let the soul go wild, to shelter in darkness and blaze with light, to cease to speak and be perfectly understood.”
― Rebecca Solnit, Storming the Gates of Paradise: Landscapes for Politics

I’ve lived a big portion of my life in a small town where everyone did drugs and complained about the lackadaisical atmosphere that inhibited the growth of their adolescence. The older I grew, the more I found myself losing grip of my reality, worried of seeing myself only become a mere desolate being that struck uncertainty with every platonic relationship I encountered. It was not long until I began to find more comfort on the couches and floors of others than I did my own bedroom and allowed people take pieces of me that I wished I had kept hidden. When I wasn’t finding a place to lay my head, I would lean it against a car window, sitting as a passenger, watching trees and houses fly past my eyes, giving me an encapsulating sense of vertigo.

Upon moving to Utica, NY in 2015, I realized that since the age of 14, I was constantly searching for a place to make my inner self feel whole; a place to make me feel like I was at “home”. No matter what part of the east coast I visited, I was constantly reminded of my own hometown. Every streetlight, gas station, house, reminded me of what I spent my adolescent years relentlessly attempting to abandon. The series, Home is Where I Am, was an attempt at me reliving my constant chase, a constant high of finding myself in where I thought I could belong.

To view more of Elizabeth’s work please visit her website.