American photographer, Diane Arbus, gained recognition for her photographs of marginalized individuals who were seen as unfit by the general populace. While discussing her fascination for photographing freaks, Arbus suggests ”most people go through life dreading they’ll have a traumatic experience. Freaks were born with their trauma. They’ve already passed their test in life; they are aristocrats.” This compelling statement from Arbus acts as the catalyst for Chrysalis by opening a discussion about disability, trauma, and identity. Disability appears to exist outside of time - some are born disabled while others inherit their disability later in life. Knowing this, have these individuals already passed their test? Or are they continuously passing a series of tests throughout their lives as their disability shapes their identities? The photographs do not aim to define the identities of the models and their disabilities, but instead document and accept the present state of their lives in relation to the many tests they have experienced and have yet to face.
Commissioned by DisArt, the body of work was created between June and August of 2018.