This ongoing portrait series combines traditional women’s craft, contemporary DIY culture, portraiture, and a love of the unexpected and absurd. The Cozy Portrait series morphs and conforms to each person I photograph. Though each one of the portraits is specific to the subject, one of the common threads explored across many of the portraits is the way we construct our identities through our home and the objects we choose to place in our private spaces.
In this series, the things we normally look for in a portrait - a person’s facial features or expression - are obscured by a knitted cozy. Everyone has basically the same body outline with the cozy. This obstruction and uniformity of the cozy asks the viewer to look longer and discover for themselves what is happening in the piece. The idea that environment and objects can construct a person’s identity is integral to the work in this series. Often I choose familiar spaces, such as someone’s home or backyard, as the backdrop for this identity study.
The cozy is custom made for each subject. Reminiscent of an ill-fitting handmade sweater, the cozy represents the fine line between comfort and constriction. It is simultaneously a warm cocoon and a claustrophobic straight-jacket. In the same way we can outfit our spaces with precisely chosen objects and fittings that bring us a feeling of comfort and security, and even construct our identity through the objects we surround ourselves with, those trappings of home can sometimes ensnare us in gilded cages of our own design.