Jasmine Clark | Chicago, IL, United States

Short bio:
Born in 1986, Jasmine Rayna Clark is the daughter of two United States Marines and grew up in a military community in Twentynine Palms, California (MCAGCC). Clark received her BFA in Photography from California State University, Long Beach and will receive her MFA in Photography from Columbia College Chicago in 2016. My photographic work is influenced by my long-term curiosity about the military’s impact on the American political landscape. The military encompasses the complexities of life: sacrifice, death, love, destruction, friendship and peace. My perspective fluctuates from indifference to reverence and contempt directly shaped by my upbringing in a conservative military community.

Why do you photograph on film?
I understand and can explain the “simple” mechanics and chemistry that goes with film photography. Optically, there is an immediate distinction made between how and what you see on the ground glass of an or through the viewfinder of a Mamiya 7 versus a digital interpolated image. I have control over how I want light to be interpreted instead of being automatically processed through a sensor. Also, the thrill/stress/anxiety/joy caused by the uncertainty of using film is something that I would miss. And being able to controlling instant gratification. The tactility of photography is taken away when using digital devices.

What is your work about?
In the areas surrounding military bases, military culture is an inseparable part of the landscape. One can see signs of the military intertwined in the established American patriotic and national identity. There is an absurdity created by the juxtaposition of complex issues simplified through the use symbols and iconography. Complex and polarizing issues: religion, race, class structure, patriotism, gun control, institutions of power, and military overwhelm American identity found in monuments, murals, artifacts, and signs. I am curious and frustrated as to why there is a need for the oversaturation of symbols. However, I am fascinated by the fact of their existence, in the dichotomy between public and private by exploring notions of access and about photographic fact versus fiction in documentary photography.