Collection Portraits

Kira Wilson '16

The project: Ms. Wilson conducted and filmed interviews with fellow students about objects they have collected, asking them to describe the collection and what the objects mean to them. Her subjects discuss things as varied as reptiles and chocolate wrappers, which Ms. Wilson came to see as representing “times in their lives when they valued something.” She further notes that “their continuation of the collections demonstrates either a nostalgia for these times or a preservation of these values, or a convergence of the two.”

From her artist’s statement: “Initially, this project was not a film series. I was going to take portraits of the subjects and then still-life-style photos of their collections, but … I found that the subjects’ voices were a much larger component of my project than I had expected. Film allowed me to capture each subject’s physical and emotional interaction with his or her collection. I tried to film in a way that captured these interactions, focusing on their hands and expressions.”

Biggest challenge: “This was my first in-class film project and so learning how to conduct interviews and film the right content for what I wanted the video to look like was a new experience for me.”

Surprising discovery: “I learned that every person’s collection is unique and personal, and that usually the reason you collect something is because it has some sentimental meaning to you. That’s a theme that runs through each.”

Tip for future scholars: “Do something that really interests you and experiment with new things, because this class gives you the freedom to basically do whatever you want. If you do something that you are interested in or passionate about, it will turn into something that you probably weren’t expecting.”