Stephanie Kropp grew up in Saint Simons Island, GA and graduated from College of Charleston with a BFA in Studio Art Photography in 2016. She is currently working and living in Los Angeles, CA. Her work explores elements of humanity, shifting always between looking inward with self portraits and looking outward at concepts like family and memory. A large part of her practice is concerned with the presentation and installation of her works. She achieves this by using tools like alternate printing processes and collage.
“And now: it is easy to forget
what I came for
among so many who have always lived here
swaying their crenellated fans
between the reefs
you breathe differently down here.
I came to explore the wreck.
The words are purposes.
The words are maps.
I came to see the damage that was done
and the treasures that prevail.
I stroke the beam of my lamp slowly along the flank
of something more permanent
than fish or weed
the thing I came for:
the wreck and not the story of the wreck
the thing itself and not the myth
the drowned face always starting
toward the sun
the evidence of damage
worn by salt and sway into this threadbare beauty
the ribs of the disaster
curving their assertion
among the tentative haunters.”
— EXCERPT FROM DIVING INTO THE WRECK BY ADRIENNE RICH
It started with a discovery - a roll of film I had left undeveloped for a few years. Enough time had passed that I had completely forgotten its contents. For whatever reason, I developed it recently. I nearly gasped out loud when I saw the frames: images from a hike to a waterfall with my mother and sister. Now, this might seem unremarkable, but it was a memory I had completely forgotten I had. As I began scanning them, the images I found felt even more fitting - blurry, out of focus, and hazy - just like the memory itself. Since the roll was taken, a lot has changed between my mother, sister, and I. Our relationship collectively could be described as strained, sometimes more than others, over the past few years. A lot has changed since my parents got a divorce and all of us moved to different places and married different people. My relationship with my mother is of course fluid, and feels more different and beautiful and woven together now more than ever. Despite the change and strain (and yes, some hurt), I felt these images were an opportunity to explore and revisit and think about memory and time and what that has to do with the waterfall. I’ve been exploring poems that speak of memory and water, and one felt particularly relevant to this topic, Diving Into The Wreck by Adrienne Rich.
Text by Stephanie Kropp