In moments of stress our bodies react. Materially, physically even, they signal growth or deterioration. Sixth grade was an extremely stressful year for me. Among other things, my classmates shoved me into lockers because I was small. The stress that year caused my alopecia areata (AA) to flare up. AA is an autoimmune disease in which hair is lost, usually from the scalp, due to the body’s failure to recognize “self.” The body destroys its own tissue as if it were an invader. My hair began to fall out, and my peers made fun of me. They brought patches and glue to class.
In Bad Selections (AA) 2014, I appropriate images from barbershop charts. Placing them onto a blue backdrop in Photoshop, I crudely select fields of the face to delete. The resulting image is graphically arresting as the sky blue seems to emerge through the distorted face. The lightness of the colors and the floating nature of the head suggest a negated body consumed by blue. Each portrait is a broken person, violently disfigured against the backdrop of innocence and youth. In sixth grade, I began to learn about the dynamics of educational institutions—where I did or did not fit in them, based on my perceived defects. The educational institutions that ostensibly empower us can sometimes make us feel incompetent and incapable.
Andre Bradley lives and works in Philadelphia, PA. Bradley is a graduate of Hampshire College where he was selected in 2008 as a James Baldwin Scholar and in 2012, was a recipient of the first annual Elaine Mayes Award for Photography. Bradley received a Master’s of Fine Art from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2015 was selected as a president’s scholar and was recipient of the T.C. Colley Award for Photographic Excellence. Bradley has been a fellow at Image Text Ithaca, Hampshire College’s Creative Media Institute, and the Philadelphia Photo Arts Center and has work in the permanent collection of the RISD Museum of Art.
Editor’s Note: This feature was originally published on our previous platform, In the In-Between: Journal of Digital Imaging Artists.
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