An Interview with Photographer Rachel Eppard


by Kate Nemeth

In an artist statement, photographer Rachel Eppard says she is an artist out of necessity. Her work “Pieces of Mind”, showing with Salon Ciel at Two Moon Art House in Brooklyn from May 2nd through 23rd, is a testament to this necessity. Trauma, memories and the need to find peace of mind lead her to putting together a show that considers the dark elements of sexual abuse while showcasing a natural talent. Join the artist and Salon Ciel at Two Moon Art House on Friday Ma 2cd at 7PM for the opening of “Pieces of Mind” and a chance to hear Rachel tell the story of this exhibition her own words.

Where are you from?

I grew up in a small town known as Barboursville, VA. I was born and raised beside the Blue Ridge Mountains. I really think where I grew up had to a lot to do with my photography. I grew up surrounded by nature and beauty. I was also raised by a great family and network that told me I could do anything. I could be an artist for a living one day.

Where did you go to school?

I am a proud VI Cobra. I went to Virgina Intermont College in Bristol, VA. Unfortunately I was just told this week that my college won’t make it to next year due to financial issues. It really breaks my heart. VI has one of best photography programs on the east coast. The teachers are incredible. I owe them A LOT. They really take the time to nurture your talent. There was a lot of one on one time.

How did you get into photography?

I don’t think I ever “got into” photography. It has always been a part of my life. I have been taking photos since I can remember. I got my first film camera when I was seven. I can remember taking my stuffed animals out in the yard and setting up shoots.

What draws you to the subject matter featured in “Pieces of Mind”?

My “Pieces of Mind” work is actually a lot different than any of my other work. I normally take documentary or nature photographs. My “Pieces of Mind” work is actually way more personal than I am used to. I made this work in college after I found out that my brother-in-law had been arrested for having child porn. He had molested me when I was younger, and it brought back so many memories; raw memories. I had no choice: it was time for me to get over these feelings. Art is my only way of truly “dealing” with things.

That’s quite a story. I’m sorry for what happened to you, but glad that photography helped bring you closure.

I am actually not sorry that it happened. Yes it was probably the hardest thing I ever had to face, but you know it really made me the woman I am today. I am much more confident in who I am. I know what I will and will not stand for now. Thanks for your support though.

Do you think photography is therapeutic?

It definitely is therapeutic. It is kind of hard to describe. I have a hard time expressing myself often. I can make someone feel a certain way with my photography. I can show them how I feel by making them feel the same way.  Often counselors have children draw pictures or paint to help them express how they feel. It is very similar to that. It allows you to process and remember events without it being to real or close to you. You are seeing things through a medium which gives it a third person affect.

I really do hope my show can help raise awareness to domestic violence. Most violence occurs at home, and is done by people that the victims love or trust. If my photographs could help a victim get help, I would be really honored and happy. I also hope that my photographs help to stop violence from happening at all. It is truly dear to my heart.

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