Small Anxieties


When I think back upon my childhood, the memories that often come to mind are of those in which my sister and I are engaged in make-believe play. We would spend hours creating spontaneous narratives using miniature plastic animals as our actors and wooden blocks for the sets. The outcomes of these narratives were malleable: storylines evolved and “start-overs” were often employed. Later, as a parent, I would observe my own children engaging in similar play. The props and environments were different, but the purpose remained the same. This was a risk-free means for a child to learn about engaging with the outside world as well as with their own interior world.

A few years ago I happened to acquire a vintage, miniature doll, one that looked like he could have been a character from the Dick and Jane reading books of my childhood. Picking up from where a previous photographic project had left off, I decided to stage and record my own narratives using this doll. Keeping within the spirit of children's play, I tried to work intuitively to see what ideas might emerge. I found that thoughts of childhood fears and anxieties seemed to come out in some of the scenarios. I thought about how, as children, we used make-believe and magical thinking to help us face our fears. We could invent characters and situations to explore and develop solutions to a variety of anxieties. I decided to explore this concept further.

I have based some of the images on personal experience, while other images are more metaphorical in nature. I don't feel that it is necessary to explain my personal insight into each of these images. I leave it up to the viewer to use their own imagination to determine the outcome. These “small anxieties” are open to interpretation, standing in for fears that we all face and hope to master.