The series The Model Family is an exploration into identity through portraits of my immediate family. I am interested in the intimate progression of individuals over time, the body’s ability to convey emotion and experience through gesture and the ambiguity of the family photograph, specifically the ambiguity of a single image or moment and how context, arrangement and organization imparts meaning to these images and effects memory. The Model Family draws on an ongoing archive of images that I began creating when I was in my early teens. Images are free floating and can be organized and reorganized into “chapters.” Chapters may operate chronologically but are more often presented as skipping through time. This skipping is meant to engage with the circuitous path memory often takes. A singular image may present multiple meanings in each arrangement, altering its own relationship to the group. Much like a time traveler revisiting the same moment in their own life multiple times, with each visit the specific moment is linked to a new sequence. Kurt Vonnegut in his novel, Slaughterhouse Five, describes looking at one’s life in this manner. “Each clump of symbols is a brief, urgent message - describing a situation, a scene....There isn’t any particular relationship between all the messages, except the author has chosen them carefully, so that, when seen all at once, they produce an image of life that is beautiful and surprising and deep.”
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 a physical and emotional sense the changing nature of identity and 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, Ain’t Bad, 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.