Portraits in Breathing from EXPERIMENTS IN BREATHING

Every living being breathes. In colder climates children often entertain themselves during winter by blowing their breath onto a glass window, fascinated to watch the frosted halos that appear slowly dissolve. "Portraits in Breathing"recreates this simple act to explore human respiration as a kind of mark making, revealing the fleeting trace of our living, physical embodiment.

For this series, I invite friends, family, and others to breathe onto the glass surface of an ordinary flatbed scanner. Capturing each backlit exhalation as its vaporous residue fades from view, the scanner records its imprint, making visible its immaterial substance as proof of presence. Printed as true-to-scale representations, the photographs made from the individual scans reveal that—just like a fingerprint or snowflake—no two breaths or moments are alike. I think about how the collective breaths of previous generations—no matter age, race, religion, gender, or beliefs—comingle in the atmosphere as an essential part of the cycles of nature, transforming back into the air each of us breathes today—joining many into one. Floating within a dark void, their disembodied forms draw visual parallels between the imperceptible world of microorganisms and cosmic bodies and events that occur in distant space. Mediating upon the origins of life, the breath scans consider the future of humanity and the inevitability of our own mortality.