Spotlight: Kathleen McLaughlin, United States
In our Spotlight feature, we ask our members some questions to learn more about what inspires their photography, the processes they use to make images, and the stories behind their favorite pictures.
Q: What’s the story behind your favorite photo in your Your Shot gallery?
A: I was living in the village of Sarbi [in Romania] with a peasant family, documenting the ancient customs of this area called Maramures. This image, “After the Funeral,” was in the village Valeni. I attended the ceremony with several women from Sarbi who were relatives to the deceased. The ceremony lasted four hours and it was time for dinner. It is customary and expected to be fed after a funeral service. I attended over 30 funeral services because of the intimacy between the villagers, outward expression of grief, and the welcome I felt.
Q: Are you currently working on any long-term photography projects?
A: For the past eight years I have been documenting the domestic landscape in my life. I have two young boys and I get the chance to relive parts of my childhood. My own family album photos from growing up are in the clutches of my dear father, who has had them since his divorce from my mother in 1985. Perhaps it’s because of this that I feel compelled to record precious moments in and around home.
I continue to return to Romania to document the changes that have swept in to the village where I lived for two years. I will begin a collaborative project with a [local] photographer in October, “rephotographing” our steps in his village, Breb, and in Sarbi, the village I lived in.
Q: Did you go to school to study photography?
A: I began studying photographing as an undergraduate and received a minor in photography. At the time there wasn’t a major. My major was in psychology. Seven years later I began my MFA in photography at Virginia Commonwealth University, where I began this project. I completed my MFA in 2001.
Q: Whose photography has influenced you the most?
A: Mary Ellen Mark