The course of a life can be determined by a single, sharp moment; one that is inevitable and ultimately essential. A moment of trauma, setback or challenge reverberates for years to come, daring us to keep moving forward, and shaping our capacity to connect and flourish.
My mother was devastated by my father’s infidelity, which led to a bitter divorce that had a profound impact on our family. As I witnessed her life unravel, I thought about strength of character, and began to wonder whether it was an innate quality or a personal choice. How is it that some emerge from the most difficult of moments better and stronger, while others find comfort in solitude, anger, jealousy and despair?
It’s been over 45 years since that traumatic event, yet my mother has never fully recovered nor has she felt the need to seek professional help for her mental stability. Instead, I witnessed a woman who thrived on self-pity and detached herself from loved ones. As a result, her extreme actions and behavior were a detriment to the entire family.
Mother explores the emotional and psychological terrain surrounding the ending of relationships and the loss of personal identity. I use photography as a means to interpret and understand my mother’s experiences, and piece together a tattered family narrative scarred by emotional trauma. For me, the process was one of personal discovery, but more importantly, it provided closure. A therapeutic process emerged where the feelings of sorrow, disappointment and anger resurfaced, and I was able to tame those feelings through acceptance and forgiveness.
JP Terlizzi is a visual storyteller who uses photography to explore themes of memory, relationship, and identity. Drawing inspiration from his personal experiences he captures moments that convey narratives—whether the story is a framed moment that reveals something about family and home, or a poetic interpretation of a fading reality, the feeling of loss and detachment are recurring themes in his work.
all images and text © JP Terlizzi