Maddie Godfrey reflects on the impression of the shadow.
Call me obsessed: I adore shadows. What can the body create from an absence? Can you still possess your own shadow when you exist within someone else’s? If a shadow is a liminal space, how long can a poem linger there?
When I think about being a teenager, there are gaps in my memory. Months that I can only comprehend through school reports and the occasional photograph still uploaded in a private Facebook album.
I believe that an Ekphrastic response involves creating a new shadow for an artwork. The poem lays on the ground like cement, before the artwork, hoping to become an intersection of absence and presence. After all, a successful Ekphrastic poem must exist without the artwork, just as the artwork continues to exist without the poem. This mimics a shadow – which exists relationally but still maintains a cohesive self.
Olive Cotton was a prominent female photographer of the 1930s and 1940s, but many media sources mention her in relation to her first husband Max Dupain. In The photographer’s shadow, Olive is positioned above the photographic subject (Dupain) and her silhouette casts a frame around him. Before writing, I pondered this image as a reversal of public perceptions of female creatives, who are too often discussed within the framework of their male lover. From this context, I started to consider what outlines my own identity.
For a long time, I have been interested in gendered experience as an act of liminality. As existing in two-places at once. A fragmented depiction of selfhood. As someone who identifies as non-binary, I do not ascribe to the notion that I was born into the wrong body, but simply that my gender has always had its own shadow.
This is an excerpt from Maddie Godfrey's reflection. For the full comment: redroomcompany.org/projects/shadow-catchers