To Shake, To Shatter is a photography project about memory, family and relationship with one’s self. All images are taken on large format film, in Nashville Tennessee and Whitten’s home town of Carlock, Illinois.
For this series, Whitten explored her family archives to gather film stills from her childhood. She turned those stills into 30 x 40 inch prints, which would later be placed around Nashville to be photographed. These stills provided a way for the past to entangle itself with the present. She found theses still to interact hauntingly and romantically with the light and the shadows of the now, providing a landscape to be experienced. Whitten also captured still lives in and around Nashville, as well as her family home. Scenes of frozen lakes allow a returning to identity and closeness with oneself despite the reality of growing up. Whitten also placed a variety of family video stills in the backyard of her current home, to watch the colors change, water collect and rust to form. She also uses self-portraits in this project to further the connection between past and present.
This is a project about encountering our past and its memories. To Shake, To Shatter is about holding two things at once and giving ourselves the permission to put down, or hold on to what no longer serves.
Earlier this month, a selection of images featured in this project were awarded a Student ADDY Award through the American Advertising Federation Nashville.
Whitten, Sydney, "To Shake, To Shatter" (2021). Honors Scholars Collaborative Projects. 49.