Fragility does not always indicate weakness. Rather, fragility implies the potential for destruction, but persistence despite it. Women grapple with this reality in their day-to-day lives and thus offer a unique perspective on what it means to be agile in one’s perceived fragility. Three women photographers from the Washington DC area, Carey Averbook, Michelle Frankfurter and Tatiana Gulenkina cast a knowing eye to address fragile communities or things whose strength lies in their ability to adapt to changing circumstances.
Both Carey Averbook and Michelle Frankfurter convey the tenuous existence of populations of people. Frankfurter’s series Destino focuses on undocumented Central American migrants and their journeys through Mexico to the United States on often-dangerous freight trains. Every move leaves them dichotomously more vulnerable and yet closer to the opportunity that lies ahead. They wrestle with grieving the loss of home, thrill of adventure, and hope for a better future.
Carey Averbook examines the brave Bolivians who have uprooted the entirety of their lives to relocate to Northern Virginia in Only the Bridge Matters Now. There is a belief in Bolivian culture that the most dangerous thing for the community is to forget one’s origins; therefore these emigrant communities bring nearly all of their possessions to their new homes abroad to bridge the gap in between.
Looking at the qualities of fragility and agility as states achieved by organic matter, Tatiana Gulenkina experiments in cameraless photography. She captures the fleeting moments occurring through the decay of organic material, aptly named, Things Merging and Falling Apart. The transformation of persistent objects on a light sensitive surface ultimately reflect Gulenkina’s ephemeral emotional states, both tenuous and ever changing.