Rachel Jump (b. 1991, Chicago, Illinois) is a fine art photographer living in Chicago, Illinois. She graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design (BFA PH’14), where she received the Harry Koorejian Memorial Scholarship and the Haining Family Scholarship. Her black and white images have been widely exhibited throughout the United States. Rachel’s prints are held in collections at the Museum of Contemporary Photography and the RISD Museum Special Collections, where she was also a visiting artist in conjunction with the exhibition, America in View: Landscape Photography 1865 to Now. Alibi Fine Art in Chicago, Illinois held her first major solo exhibition in November 2015. Her work has also been featured in various publications, including Der Greif, Shots Magazine, LENSCRATCH, FotoRoom, Feature Shoot, Fraction Magazine, and Papersafe. She made her curatorial debut at Filter Photo with Aint-Bad Metropolis: Chicago, which was a group exhibition that highlighted a selection of artists making photographs in the Chicago area. She was a FIELD/WORK artist-in-residence at the Chicago Artists Coalition from 2016—2017. Rachel is currently working as the Communications Coordinator for Mana Contemporary Chicago and as an editor for Aint-Bad.
PROJECT SPOTLIGHT: Origins
2013 – present
These photographs are a recollection of my childhood, where I use the camera to recreate my most potent memories shared with my family. My work reflects my present interpretation of previous events— a fiction conjured from my truth. Origins investigates the malleable nature of memory, and how personal relationships are impacted by repression and desired reconciliation. Instead of idealizing and concealing recollections of my family history, I attempt to highlight the disparity and emotional distance between us. This constructed narrative is an attempt to demonstrate my longing for familial intimacy. These photographs are relics of loss — traces of a family that I continue to piece back together.
When and where did Origins begin?
Origins was initially envisioned as a contemporary experience inspired by Thoreau — I had the intention to live in the woods at my parents' house in Holderness, New Hampshire, and create photographs of nature. After arriving in the middle of winter with my dog, I remembered the circumstances surrounding sale and purchase of this home: An older man — living alone at this house with his dog — nearly drowned in the lake. This traumatic incident scared him away from this place my parents perceived as a sanctuary. Looking out into the frozen water, I considered how memories manifest within precious spaces, and how our daily lives are impacted by these psychological undercurrents. This home became a backdrop for a series of tableaus that present my interpretation of our family narrative.
Where do you see this body of work going?
My photographs represent a meditation on physical and emotional distances that separate me from the people I love. I am currently living in Mexico with my partner after two years of living apart, and we previously had to rely on cell reception to perpetuate our long-distance relationship. I work with a black and white view camera—a very archaic, yet cumbersome beast—and I am hoping to explore notions of human connectivity and longing through some of the newest and oldest forms of image making technology. I am hoping this unusual entanglement of technology and a rural beach landscape will lend to more experimental photographs that progress beyond Origins.
What helps you sustain your current creative practice?
I was fortunate to work at Mana Contemporary Chicago for the last several months, as I was introduced to many different artists with vastly different creative sensibilities than my own. While attending RISD, I was hellbent on exclusively practicing as a photographer, and promoting the careers of artists I admire outside of my understanding of the medium. This experience challenged me to speak, write, and think about art from many different perspectives. When I was living in Chicago, I tried to attend at least one opening a week, which also enriched my understanding of emerging and contemporary art within my community. It’s really important for me to invest in the careers and ambitions of my friends and peers, as this symbiotic relationship is vital for artists communities to thrive.
What’s next for you?
I recently moved from Chicago, IL to Baja, Mexico, where I will be working on a new series of photographs for the next six months. I’ll be excited to share what I have been creating upon my return to the United States next year.