Metamorphoses is a book of 267 black & white photographs made throughout Chile in 1998/1999. Organized by 29 stories from Ovid’s 1st century Metamorphoses as described by Allen Mandelbaum’s 1993 translation.
I was 18-years old, traveling alone through Chile making photographs from November to May. I returned to the United States with over 1,500 negatives. I did not know what my photographs were or what to do with them. I left them to die or incubate.
Twenty years later returning to the negatives and editing them through Ovid’s narrative lens of myth I have discovered a concealed multi-layered reality—where the ordinary is magnified, everyday passions intensify, and vision becomes timeless.
Where my photographs and the imagery of Ovid’s storytelling intertwine—I find new expressions and interpretations of metamorphosis.
The photographs transform Ovid’s collection of myths from the ancient world, written toward the end of his life nearly two thousand years ago, into a vision of contemporary life and of my own at its creative beginning.
The book contains photographs of construction crews, lovers, bathers, a conman, a wedding, a baptism, hitchhiking and cemeteries. It spans the country from Santiago to Tierra del Fuego.
Looking back these places, events and people, while taken from my own experience, have come to embody near universal figures from myth. And now I see in these people and places the patterns that are universally described as the fate of Apollo & Daphne, Narcissus & Echo, and Orpheus & Eurydice.
I placed my own experience into a larger design and rediscovered what I once felt of heroism, revenge, love, grief, and creativity.
Excerpt “Deucalion & Pyrrha” from Metamorphoses, a book of photographs by Kate Joyce with text from Ovid’s Metamorphoses.
Excerpt “Perseus & Atlas” from Metamorphoses, a book of photographs by Kate Joyce with text from Ovid’s Metamorphoses.
All images courtesy Kate Joyce. All rights reserved.