In Silence with Crystal Tursich

For the past few months, I’ve been working to create a new body of work which is deeply personal, it is called In Silence. It is important that, first and foremost, the images in this series maintain formal design quality and technical finesse. Only then can my thoughts and experience become conceptualized. Ultimately, this series is about loss and creating the work has served as a coping mechanism for me. The official statement is below.  

The world moves and I am still. Deafening silence fills the room as I fixate on ceiling tiles. An ultrasound technician to my right fumbles with how to break the news. For the next several days, I go through the motions forcing myself to eat and sleep along the way. Friends and family send their condolences, share their experiences, attempt to console me. I feel everything and nothing all at once. A time of conflicting emotions, I try to make sense of it all.

Becoming a parent was not something I ever dreamed about. I refused to even consider it until my mid-thirties. This late revelation makes the loss that much more prominent. As children, girls are given dolls and kitchen sets to prepare them to play the roles of mother and caretaker. Playing house and pretending to care for a baby lost its appeal for me around the age of eleven. I declared that I was unsure I ever wanted to have children and I gave all of my dolls to my little sister. My mother told me that this broke her heart.

I did not feel my heart break when I miscarried but I felt my body passing a lifeless being. The traumas of pregnancy are not explained to young girls, dolls cannot convey the pains of labor or miscarriage. Pregnancy is discussed as if a baby is definite. Miscarriage is addressed in whispers. We experience this in silence and hope for a successful outcome next time.

This series has been coming together fairly quickly. I started photographing for it in early May and began submitting select images to juried exhibitions and competitions mid-June. I was very pleased when one image was chosen for an exhibition about narrative in photography. Clutching My Belly was shown as part of The Telling Image at Praxis Gallery in Minneapolis, Minnesota from July 13th-August 8th. I’m looking forward to exhibiting more of this work soon. Until then, I’ll continue posting images from these series on my Instagram account and I’ll even be taking over the SPE Women’s Caucus Instagram feed from August 20-26th.