photography > Permission Slips Revealed

Artist Statement: Permission Slips Revealed

I love to wear slips. I love how they feel against my skin and how they make me feel: protected, unique, even provocative on occasion. I amass them in assorted colors, fabrics, and lengths.

I give myself permission to explore my affinity. I choose my favorites and photograph them in soft light. Using long exposures and movement, I create abstractions and surprise. Powerful female forms appear. The slips ask to be taken outside; they fly.

And then the world and all its messiness interferes and prods my consciousness. A nearly forgotten memory begins to simmer just below the surface of my pictures. The middle of my story changes. The slips become more real as the memory unfolds. Is it my story to tell? I let the slips decide. They decide to spew. A short tale unfolds.

It’s late. I’m a young girl, eight or nine, alone in my bedroom. My parents are arguing in the hallway just outside my closed door. Tonight’s argument is different, more intense. There is pushing. A fall, and then tears. The next morning my mother wears an ivory-colored sling. My father offers a sorry explanation that ‘she tripped on her slip.’ I knew it wasn’t true. Just as I knew we would escape. And we did.

My photography continues to startle me, giving form to various unspeakables. I hope I always remember to give myself permission to stay alert and to record what is revealed in the beauty and the shadows.

A portion of the proceeds from this series will benefit Vera House a not-for profit organization in Syracuse, New York dedicated to a world free of violence and abuse.

Patricia Christakos, revised March 1, 2017