“Chance or Family” highlights my therapeutic self-portraiture practice, the basis for the photo-therapy I engage my family in. As a tactile exploration of trauma manifesting in the body, rather than solely in the archive, I printed images from my family’s photo albums on photopolymer plates using Ultraviolet light before covering them in printmaking ink and pressing them onto my skin. After ruminating on the relationship between painting and photography, I developed this process, mimicking how the earliest daguerreotypes were created and honoring their role in shifting how important moments in families are documented. 

My family albums replace the need for memory, as I only recognize those pictured as family members because I’m told they are my relatives. While working to resolve my painful lack of strong family ties with my extended relatives in Germany, since I grew up away from them in the United States, I became interested in the way family archives function and how individual legacy fades. I expanded the traditional definition of family by including portraits of individuals who are unidentified in our records or are not blood relatives of mine. 
Each image carries with it a story, such as that of a woman who rescued my grandfather and his siblings from starvation during WWII, etching her impact into our familial narrative. This is metaphorically shown by the subsequent printing of her likeness onto my body in this work.

I also chronicle the gender-based oppression the women in my family have endured. As the first female in my direct family to complete higher education and remain unmarried by age twenty-four, I feel as though I'm breaking through generational curses that my peers' parents have already dealt with before the dawn of the 2000s. Documenting the act of washing my grandmother’s wedding portrait off of my back with my hair in this series represents my refusal to conform to the expectation of heterosexuality and the role of housewife imposed within my conservative Christian family. My engagement with the photographic medium in general serves as a bold challenge to the traditional gender norms embedded in my family's history, as the camera was previously seen as a technical instrument too complicated for a woman and my family's albums are the product of solely male photographers.