Ardara and On
Photographs by Magali Duzant
The photographic series Ardara and On began as an exploration into the process of aging and finding a right in the world. This right refers to a confidence that can be difficult to ascertain in one’s twenties; it is a confidence in place, in plans, in self. There has been much talk of extended adolescence and a general societal unease with the situation that many twenty-somethings find themselves in. The life stages have changed; adults are marrying older, they are taking longer to settle, they are attempting to juggle a new order of life events.
The title refers to the place in which the project was first conceived; Ardara is a small town in Western Pennsylvania that symbolized a personal need for change and the painful process that can accompany it. Upon following a path that led to California, the project became as much about personal growth and the difficulties that it can bring as it is about the landscape of California and how place influences ones’ desires and actions. It feeds into an American stereotype; the West as a place of possibility and new beginning coupled with a feeling of disillusionment in that idea; a feeling of loss, all placed within a storied and cinematic setting.
These images illustrate the ways in which a new place is seen and felt on ones’ own. They are the quiet gestures that one picks up on when alone. There is an underlying loneliness and a deep feel for the last light of the day. California is depicted as the proverbial film set that it so often manifests itself into. It carries an aspect of tension as well as one of fantasy; where fears and uncertainties lurk below the surface; the face of which plays into popular imagination – California as the pliable new.