Ashley Michelle Hannah
Silver gelatin prints
Jacksonville began with a deeply personal story of domestic violence. There, holes numbered the walls as frequently as tears numbered my face and bruises numbered my mom. I left at the age of fourteen and returned only once to complete this project. The images can’t show their connection to my story—the significance of each place apparent to only myself. Rather, they stand in for a violence that can no longer be seen, speaking to the quiet sadness of my hometown and alluding to the subtle ways land carries and represents the memory of trauma.
Ashley Michelle Hannah’s recent work confronts her childhood trauma from domestic violence as a way to connect with larger, collective narratives. In the thesis exhibition, she presents Jacksonville, her most recent body of black and white photographs of the military town in North Carolina, a site of historic violence and the backdrop of her personal story. Through nuanced use of light, space, and texture, these quiet yet psychologically charged photographs of objects, spaces and landscapes evoke a sense of decay, loss, absence and melancholy. Carefully sequenced, the group of images as a whole takes the viewer on a psychological journey back in time to the memory of trauma, eschewing specific narratives.
Ashley Michelle Hannah studied photography at Stanford University, where she majored in Art Practice with Honors. Her work, which is mostly photographic, investigates relationships between self, memory, and trauma. By exploring personal narratives of queerness and violence, Hannah seeks to connect with a larger, collective narrative and uncover more generalizable truths. After graduating, Hannah hopes to expand the Jacksonville series into a mixed-media book that connects her story of violence to the historic violence pervading Jacksonville, a military town.