When I was five years old, my father suffered a bipolar breakdown and was sent to a psychiatric institution. It started him on a long descent from top IBM salesman to homeless on the streets of Brooklyn some 20 years later. Our relationship followed a similar trajectory. When he died we had spoken only twice in his final ten years.
I began Glove seeking to reconnect with my father by photographing the childhood objects that I most associated with him. Over time it became a journey into the emotional core of these objects, unearthing the feelings and memories associated with a black wallet, wingtip shoes, zippo lighter, baseball glove and many other long forgotten items.
The project was complicated by the fact that my father died indigent and I had very few items actually owned by him. I spent countless hours digging in thrift shops, at flea markets and on eBay looking for objects that connected him to me. I bought and photographed many items only to reject them later. I searched period advertising and publications looking for clues as to what was the right watch or the right hair crème. His objects became my objects as I sported a class ring and carried a black wallet until they were sufficiently worn.
The process was integral to the work and photographing these adopted objects resulted in a rich, visceral connection between me, the objects and long buried memories. Many of the memories were traumatic, connected to my father, the tragedies of his life, and the beliefs of a 5 year old child who thought it was all his fault. Glove helped me discover that fear confronted leads to fear released. I hope you find the same.
Check out all the images here, http://jsullivanartist.com/portfolio-landing-page/.