Emmy Smith

Emmy lives in Seattle, Washington. It is the fifth western state she has lived in and it is the wettest. She holds a BA from the middling Humboldt State University, where she worked her weird aesthetic and social discontent into silver and illustration. Her photography has developed in answer to living in the stayed adult world, working in gender non-normative careers and watching the promises of youth degrade completely. She is published in Arcade Magazine and through the OGH book series.

allegory of adulthood

Disillusionment and broken comfort, painted over, discarded, freshly painted and left alone. Human gesture here is evident, but any link back to the good hand has been erased.
What is is available in public spaces is emptiness; scenes of adult life in which the narrative complexity has lost the magical dimensions of childhood, where limits are known and seen, relied upon and expressed.

How does something become an ‘adult’ – a notion regarded as some cruel joke by my generation? Decay of the body, loss, compensation, shoddy repair, making due. An adult is something which has realized its potential for functionality and winds up lost in the process, really? Living in Seattle, I have tuned into these private scenes, witnessed alone in public spaces. Lonely and intimate, they strike me with the impact of minimalism, emotionally evocative in their proportion and the immensity of their creation, the even greater immensity of how they have been marooned to finish their long sentence of ‘adulthood’. Their alienation calls out and echoes alienation back out of me. How alienated must the architects of this lonely world must be to create a world in their image when their image is this. The spiritual instinct towards integration with the world and non separation is perverse in its artifice, mimicking an inherited feeling of the human condition and creating the built environment as a diorama to honor and replicate the absence of connection. The pulse of the world can be felt, but it is buried, and our strongest impressions, by sheer numbers alone, are in the flavor of suburban domination.

The city is perfuse with these dull adulthoods, the charm of small failures, who are doing their very best – at times earnest and broken and fixed. Hopefully, there is redemption, hopefully there is rebellion and the sheet of paper can unfold one more time to reveal a greater hidden message in dialogue with the graveyards we visit and the mausoleums where we sleep and the obelisks where we work which can call out the aging spirit again.

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