WORK > One Year: Somewhere in Between (A Life in 365 Days)

Katherine Keltner, Sleep Series
One Year: Somewhere in Between (Sleep Series)

This work began as the daily photographing of my daughter’s midday sleep for one year. But the work was not simply a love song; this fragmentation of time radically changed my own schedule and defined my daily life. I struggled with a lack of plannable and dependable time – a loss of self as I knew it.

One Year lives between joy that overwhelms and crushing sadness. The poignant beauty I saw in her face, in her sweet sucking motions and heard in her exquisite breaths met the realization of the terror of her realness, and with it fragility, and my own aching loss: of self, normalcy, time, rest, nourishment, support, certainness. The work reveals the total devotion of a mother to her child but also complex longings and loss felt with motherhood. I had no way to know that this phase of life might end; I might be forever caught in a cycle of uneven days, constantly trying to meet the whims, needs, feelings, desires, basic appetites of another, and seemingly never able to meet my own.

Each picture recalls memories of frustration, beauty, peace, anguish, hunger, exhaustion, love, anger, gratitude, melancholy, bliss, guilt, sadness, beauty. The routine of napping was a microcosm for her future: struggles over what guidelines we would follow for life patterns (and how did I know if I was setting the right ones?). The memories were banal too: nagging emails, overdue thank yous, applications not submitted, dirty clothes, dirty dishes, dirty apartment, neglected dog.

I felt overcome. Somewhere in an agonizing(ly beautiful) heartache.