Thoughts I Wanted To Share With You

Photographs by Claire Sloan
Interview via email, May 2015

 These images come from Claire Sloan's Diary series, a very personal collection of photographs, ongoing and spanning the years from 2010 to present.

"I’m learning more and more that my interest in photography is rooted in something much deeper than I originally thought. It’s hard to explain, but I think that my need to photograph is really actually a need to understand people on a very intimate level; to have some kind of deep sadness or romance or emotion validated by looking and taking, and keeping. I think this is why I am drawn to photography, but also to birth, to being a doula, to being a nurse, etc. 

I stopped taking photos altogether when I started doing social work as a health educator. I was so overwhelmed at what I was seeing and experiencing every day in people’s homes that I felt in some ways that my craving for visual intimacy / connection was being satisfied. Now that I’m in nursing school, I’m starting to feel at times more detached from people and real life (just being in the school mindset will do that I think), and beginning to feel like I need photography again. It’s an ebb and flow, " Claire Sloan (in a personal email correspondence, which we asked to publish and which Claire gave us permission).

When we were in school together, we'd relate to the trials and tribulations of being a personal narrative photographer, of using subject matter from your own life to tell a story.

I remember one conversation in particular. We were comparing the differences between working on a very specific documentary project, one in which work begins only in a distinct physical space, verse making work using subject matter from your personal life. In the latter, it's ongoing, and that has the potential to feel overwhelming.

A theme of these conversations, and what our recent emails still allude to, is a sustained sense of claustrophobia as well as liberation, and always back and forth.