Marijane Ceruti is a photographer and archivist based in Connecticut. She currently works as an assistant archivist on a human rights collection at the Archives & Special Collections at the University of Connecticut.
Born and raised in Connecticut, Marijane graduated from the University of Connecticut School of Fine Arts with a concentration in photography in 2014.
Most recently, she had her work published on Aint-Bad’s website in 2018. She attended the 2017 New York Portfolio Review and was interviewed by Fotoroom in the same year. Her work has been exhibited through an online exhibition with the Griffin Museum in 2017, the 2016 Portrait: Photography exhibition at Black Box Gallery, the 2015 State of Being Human exhibition at the University of Central Oklahoma, the Kerri Gallery in Willimantic, Connecticut as well as the Fairfield Museum 2014 IMAGES exhibition.
PROJECT SPOTLIGHT: Lost & Found
2014 – present
Lost and Found is an ongoing project that began in 2014. It is a document of my journey of self-discovery and enlightenment through loss. Parts of it document the loss of some of my beloved pets, the experience of living with my grieving grandparent, and the gain and loss of two romantic relationships.
When and where did Lost and Found begin?
This project began in 2014 while I was staying with my grandmother in her beach house. It was the summer in between my thesis show and my last semester in college. I documented every square of her house and every person that walked through the door. Most of my time was spent just making photographs, asking questions and listening. With the photographs that I made that summer, I dedicated the last semester of my undergrad learning how to make a photo book. I consulted with design professors, taught myself how to sew bindings, and explored my many options when it came to bookmaking. The book itself was not something to brag about in the end, but like anything else, I learned a lot along the way.
After school ended I struggled to find work but lived a lot of life. I brought my camera along with me as I worked my way through my first two relationships, struggled through the deaths of many of my pets (old age and cancer), and took time to reflect on my own mental and physical health issues. If I look back on who I was in 2014, I have grown so much. My photography is just a journal of my life and a document of the moments I was brave enough to ask “can I take your picture?”.
Where do you see this project going?
I don’t think that I am a series artist. I envy people that just decide they want to focus on something and then make a project based on that subject. I’ve never created anything worthwhile with that workflow despite all the various projects I’ve started with that intention. My best work has always been something that has just happened. I think that life has its seasons and perhaps when I am in a different season my work with change, but I know that I do my best work when I follow my intuition and just bring my camera along for the ride right now.
I don’t think that there needs to a be a big declarative statement to give the work purpose. It feels too much like a formula to make photographs in parameters. I think the act in itself of being present and tuned into a life where you recognize relationships, experiences, and beautiful light is something worth celebrating. I’m kinda entertaining the idea of never having “projects”. I like the idea of just having a long body of work with ups and downs and advice thrown in between. The moment it feels right to let go of a project on loss is going to be an important time in my life.
What helps you sustain your current creative practice?
First of all, I think not working directly in the art world is a blessing in disguise. Having the pressure to produce, perform, and network constantly would kill my work. I love working in an archive where I can go admire the binding of a 19th-century book, enjoy the gift that is interlibrary loan, and have the space to meditate on my own work as it relates to photo history. I don’t like to put a lot of pressure on myself to produce because I know that my best work just happens when I put myself out there. It’s a gift from God most of the time and I just have to be brave enough to capture it.
I also think it’s important that I don’t get too wrapped up in contemporary photography. Living my life inspired by everyday people is what I enjoy and is hopefully keeping me humble and making my work exciting and fresh. I like to get my hands dirty, learn new skills often, and laugh every day.
Lastly, Instagram has been a great tool for keeping myself connected with the artists I meet along the way. I’ve met so many talented photojournalists and fine art photographers that inspire me.
What’s next for you?
I have a bunch of film that I am hoping to scan, but other than that I’m looking into master’s programs. I’d also like to start a secret club… a la the Algonquin Round Table… still toying with that idea in my head.