Portfolio: Federica Armstrong

The Dowry, project explores my family photo archive; it’s an examination of memory, family connections and the role we hold as witness to our past.

In Italy the old tradition of the dowry refers to the practice of families giving their daughters linens and other household textiles at the time of marriage. The textiles were often custom made and the dowry was a symbol of status but also a reminder and a connection to the family of origin. The images of my parents and are transferred to vintage textiles through the cyanotype process and further toned using natural dyes such as green tea, giving the images the sepia color of the original prints. Through this alchemy, the fabrics that were originally used in the course of family life acquire new meaning. Blending the materiality of the fabric with the ephemeral nature of memory the dowry becomes the final inheritance after my parent’s passing.

The Dowry becomes a cathartic process of mourning, remembrance and consolation.

© Federica Armstrong

About Federica Armstrong

Federica Armstrong is a visual storyteller born in Italy and based in Palo Alto, California.Her storytelling practice includes documentary and fine art works focused on environmental and social issues as well as personal narratives related to intimacy and belonging.

Armstrong works with digital, analog methods as well as alternative processes.Her work has been exhibited in numerous venues in the US and Europe including the Harvard Art Museum, The Griffin Museum in Boston, and Filter Photo Gallery in Chicago, among others. Armstrong images of her project ‘In Plain Site’ have been featured on the New York Times Lens Blog and Corriere della Sera’s Sette Magazine.

She studied photography at Foothills College in Los Altos, CA. Her images have been included in several books and publications. A selection of her work is part of the Harvard Art Museum permanent collection.

Find more about the work of Federica, on her website and on Instagram (@federicaarmstrong)

All photographs and text on enigmazine.medium.com are © copyrighted by the individual Photographer and enigmazine.

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online platform for contemporary photography