I was interviewed by the wonderful Catherine Potter. If you’d like to hear what I have to say about photography, storms, relaxing in front of the camera and cow poop, have a listen.
Category Archives: Personal work
This set of portraits is a departure from the work I normally do. I completed the photographs for Because of Her, I am – for the visual arts portion of the 2019 SkirtsAFire Festival which showed at the Nina Haggarty Art Gallery on 118th Avenue in Edmonton.
Integrity versus Despair: Balance
This series of self portraits originated over 25 years ago during a hypnosis session when I was called to make a choice between head and heart, art and science. I chose heart and art. At the time I was in the middle of a degree in microbiology. I committed to completing the degree, but shortly thereafter began working as a photographer. The subsequent years were devoted to my artistic practice which was interwoven with raising my family.
My photography centers heavily around the family. Both familial emotional relationships and the experiences are crucial themes in my work. Recording families lives in order to create a record of love and joy that can be later accessed by those children once they have reached adulthood is the crux of my work.
In this series, the images are an interpretation of my dream world and my visioning, which are both comprised of and illuminated by archetypal motifs and mythologies. Jungian classical themes feature heavily in these creations. The objects in the photographs are both symbolic and representative of important moments or experiences in my life.
A health crisis necessitated my looking into the heart of myself, weighing my life and my contributions to the world. Erik Erikson writes about the stages of psychosocial development, and this work is the story of the final stage, Integrity versus Despair.
Integrity versus Despair : You Are In Your Grandmother’s Ovary
Intergenerational abandonment is a theme I have struggled with all my life. My mother left me as an infant and her mother left her. Before my boys were born, I sought counselling to ensure that I would not continue the cycle.
When I was diagnosed with cancer, my first thought was for my children. I could not leave them and would do everything to stay with them. A cancer diagnosis quickly strips you of any mental surety you have about the world and I had to come to terms with the possibility of leaving my children.
My counsellor (again with the counselling! more abandonment issues!) pointed out that even if I were to die, my boys would have a mother who died, which is a very different narrative than a mother who abandons.
In this work to regain psychological wholeness, I had to reintegrate the spirit of my mother and the spirit of my grandmother. She is an imagined figure. All I know about her is she would have been a young adult at the end of World War 2.
Integrity versus Despair: La Pieta
I have the least words for this photo – probably because I am so close to it emotionally. Pieta means ‘pity’ in Italian but a more accurate translation would be ‘compassion’ – which means “to suffer with”. On a personal level, it represents the feelings I have for my child who struggles with anxiety. I also worry for both my boys as they grow into adults and navigate the world. On a more collective level, I feel so much compassion for youth today. The challenges they face in their lives from climate change to mental health challenges are overwhelming. I don’t even know if there will be clean water or any water where I live 50 years from now. I support the students in their climate strike.
Integrity versus Despair : Flight
This child grounds me.
This is my first full-on composite photo
All of the elements, including the birds which are right side up, even tho I am upside down have meaning.
Integrity versus Despair: My Sacred Heart
Everything in this portrait is symbolic both as a metaphor and as lived experience.
After I had surgery on my breast, the wound became infected and opened up. It is surreal seeing inside of your body and I felt as if I could see into the heart of myself. In that moment, I saw this picture.
We are all sacred. Each one of us carries divine light within us. We are all valuable. All necessary. (the fire in this photo is real, not photoshopped, although it is a composite so I would not light my hair on fire.) The heart I am holding is that of a deer – I have often been accused of being too sensitive, but I now know that that sensitivity saved my life.
The pink roses are life and motherhood.
The deer/stag behind me was my protector as a child when we lived on the estate at Hatch Court, near Hatch Beauchamp
The globe shows both my birthplace and the birthplace of humanity, and the journal, my journey.
This was the most stellar fall I think I have ever seen in Edmonton.
I am generally not a fall scenery photographer type person, but this year the colours were spectacular.
I love that I found these maple leaves in rainbow colours!
We don’t often get a good display of reds in fall here in Edmonton (I know, because on the family photography side of my business, I need to keep track of what is turning and when) but this year, I think the long cool fall, rather than a freezing cold snap, let the trees change colour more slowly. These trees are stunning.
I still remember the solar eclipse when I was in grade 3. We had to stay inside so we didn’t all go blind. I am still mad about that.
But this time, I got to shoot the solar eclipse. It was only partial in Edmonton, but still! So excited!! (And I can get over being mad).
I got eclipse sunflair – how cool!!
And the sun coming and going.
Apparently you can fry your camera’s innards by shooting the sun – but these were shot between 1/3200 and 1/8000 of a second, and I did some test shots after – so hopefully its ok!! (I found that out after the fact).
This beautiful shelf cloud rolled in at the end of our family’s July birthday celebration last night. We were out in the country, but this was over Edmonton.
I could be a storm chaser – but I would totally die. I stood on top of a tractor to get this shot.
And just so you know, my dream job is to do an article for National Geographic.
Artist Lana Whiskeyjack, who also happens to be my best friend, and often muse
On the banks of the South Saskachewan
I am so excited to be one of the artists in this great project.
These pieces were co-created with my amazing friend and artist, Lana Whiskeyjack. You can find her work here: www.lanawhiskeyjack.ca
Let me know if you see these on billboards around Edmonton!
An art exhibition/performance between two storytellers – Mary Ann Lippiatt, in the oral tradition and Rebecca Lippiatt, a photographer.
The show is titled Mother Love and both the stories and the photographs examine the varied and complex relationships mothers share with their children.
DATES AND LOCATION
May 10, 2015 and May 17, 2015
The Carrot – 9351 – 118 Avenue, Edmonton, AB
Mary Ann will perform a new collection of stories. Concurrently, Rebecca will have a gallery showing of photographs. Rebecca’s photographs will be exhibited at The Carrot gallery for the month of May, 2015.
ORIGINS OF PROJECT
This project is a collaboration between a mother and daughter. Their personal relationship was the impetus for the theme, Mother Love. Mary Ann is Rebecca’s step-mother and the project was conceived out of a personal examination of their own relationship.
Mary Ann Lippiatt is an oral storyteller, blending traditional story art with creative improvisation, Rebecca Lippiatt is a storyteller through photographs, taking pictures in a lifestyle (or photojournalistic) style. This collaboration will bring together two artists and their art forms in a unique way.
Mary Ann’s storytelling for intergenerational audiences weave story and heart providing entertainment as well as evoking emotions of all levels. Her interactive stories offer a multicultural blend of traditional oral storytelling with complimentary storytelling techniques such a drawn and tell, story-singing or audience participatory story-interpretations.
The oral and visual storytelling in this project will engage listeners in the stories, creating a sense of place and belonging which will support family cohesiveness and ultimately build community. This interactive process of storytelling (visual and oral) will encourage individuals and families to take their story experience to bridge with their human experiences in the community.
At Stan’s Barbershop, Moe rests his hand gently on a child’s head. He talks softly, reassuring him as the boys curls fall to the floor. Like a benediction, his hand gently cups the boy’s scalp. His father is in the next chair, smiling proudly at his boy-child. Moe helps the boy off of the chair. “Would you like a sucker now?” The child nods, his face still solemn.
Every three weeks, a man or a boys enters past the red and white stripped pole, takes of his coat, sits in a chair, and observes the barber helping the man in front of him to shed his hair and share his news.
Stories are told. Old stories, new stories. Stories about wives and girlfriends. Jobs. Politics. The weather. “I hear good ones, sad ones, bad ones”, Kelly, who owns Stan’s Barbershop says. “We become like a bartender or a psychiatrist.” He has regular clients, much of his business from word of mouth. ” It becomes a good friendship, like family.”
The stories layer one on top of each other, woven together like the hair shed on the floor, creating a mosaic of history. “I’ve been in this location for 18 years. Stan was the old Ukrainian guy who owned it before me. He opened in 1958.” Roy, who owns Park Plaza Barbershop and his customer, Bernie O’Ray, who’s managed the Bargain Shop on 118th Avenue for 17 years, recite a litany of names of the previous owners.
In a lull between customers, Mohammed looks out the window of his business, MBs Barbershop and Salon. “This place is changing so much. It’s so much better now.” Kelly, Mohammed and Roy all have stories about the Avenue. “It used to be like . . . like an action show every week.”
An old man moves stiffly from his chair, his metal walker pushed in front of him Mohammed gently holds his elbow, transferring him gently to the barber’s chair. Short strands of hair from his balding head shower down on the cape.
The barber’s face furrows in concentration, clippers in hand. Blade number 2. His goal is to make his customer happy. “They don’t come for the price, they like the haircuts.”
Two dark haired boys skip out of the barbershop with their dad. They look proud; they’re handsome and happy, and look adoringly at their father, talking and laughing, bouncing up and down, their new haircuts as sleek as a seal’s pelt.