ethan murphy

what's left & what's gathered

Our Place

As The Transparency Ends

Yesterday & Today, Today & Tomorrow

And Now We're Doing Something Else

I Lost My Head Instead

Positive Attitude

You Compared Yourself to Me

It Felt Like a Poem

Each Their Own Texture, Their Own Dream

The View was Worth the Effort

We Hung Around in Circles


What’s Left and What’s Gathered is an exchange between father and I that explores my relationship with identity and loss through collaboration with the absent body. This series examines a conversation between us ten years after his death by visualizing various strategies that create a dialogue between us. I am interested in how loss can lead to creativity and resilience over time. The series operates around two central questions; What is physically left to observe that informs the way you think about a person? How does the gathering of objects, ideas, and values impact your perception of them?


The photographs are made in Newfoundland, mainly at a cabin he purchased and left to my sister and I. The structure has always been a place for potential and creativity, photographing there has encouraged me to collaborate in the space that was intended for growth. Newfoundland’s rural environment has served as a sense of place for us both and returning there to photograph is also a way to return to my father. I have acquired many of his possessions over the decade including his writing, mainly poetry from which I have taken excerpts of and used as image titles. The recontextualized relationship between text and image connects us as artists and anchors collaboration since he did not know me as a photographer nor did I know him as a creative writer and in this work we can coexist.


I am interested in what common ground looks like between us, the way that it is dynamic and manifests in multiple forms. By situating various image making strategies in this body of work, including still life, self-portraiture and photographing in places that are significant to us both they collectively communicate that coping with loss is multifaceted and ongoing.

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