Tealia Ellis Ritter

Tealia Ellis Ritter lives and works in rural Connecticut. Ellis Ritter’s work contends with the intersecting roles of the photograph as personal document, familial marker of time and object with physical surface. Her interests lie in exploring, in both an emotional and physical sense, the act of looking and being looked at in return, coupled with the desire to understand the changing nature of intimacy over time. She is presently engaged in a long term project documenting family members in both a representational and abstract manner, with a focus on the physicality and vulnerability of the human body.

Her work has been exhibited internationally, most recently by Aperture, The New Yorker, Women in Photography, The Magenta Foundation, Catherine Edelman Gallery, Taschen NYC, Double V Gallery, France, the Swab Art Fair Barcelona and at Humble Arts “31 Under 31” exhibition. Her work has also appeared in many publications, including The London Daily Telegraph, Mouvement Magazine, Stella Magazine, Bloomberg Pursuits Magazine and The Financial Times of London. 

The Model Family

The Model Family is an ongoing exploration into identity, over time, through portraits of my family members. This work explores the concept that intimacy between individuals within a set niche is as much about closeness as it is about distance, while navigating photography’s ability or limitation to reveal the complexity that exists between these emotional poles; the subject and the viewer. Indicative of this notion, is the awareness of what one can not see, the part that is inaccessible or unknowable.

The images in the series span approximately twenty years and were begun when I was a teenager. The title of the work references the role my family plays in the images, the concept of intentionally engaging in an act of posing for the purpose of being looked at. It also acts as a nod to the exhibition, “The Model Wife,” a group show by nine male photographers with significant bodies of work depicting their wives and families, including Alfred Steiglitz, Harry Callahan, Emmet Gowin and Seiichi Furuya. The show both inspired and validated my desire to create images of loved ones but also troubled me in it’s inclusion of women as muse but not as creator. The Model Family seeks to turn this notion on its head and assume the position of selector or visual author from a female perspective.

To view more of Tealia Ellis Ritter’s work please visit her website.