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Florida Gulf Coast University
10501 FGCU Blvd, South
Fort Myers, FL 33965-6565
(239) 590-1000 or (800) 590-3428

KAITLIN DOWIS

KINDRED

Senior Project APRIL 2017

We are all connected, we all travel along our own paths, and we all have one common human experience. Some of us have an innate passion to create, whether it is to paint, dance, make music or write stories. And then some of us decide that this is what we want to do for the rest of our lives. Even if the path is rough and we have to work tirelessly to make ends meet, we have a craving to create art and the craving must be satisfied. For this project I have explored this concept through the metaphor of a fictional group of like-minded artists placed in an imagined setting from the 1930s. This is my perspective of how creative artists might look during the Great Depression when groups were forming based on shared interests and many people lived together in tents.


In this series I have focused on photography because I believe that it is the best medium to capture authentic human emotion. This series of photographs emerged from my love of fashion, particularly fashion in the 1930s and 1940s. But I didn’t want to simply capture the fashion of the time period, I wanted to use it to construct a story. My hope is that these works will speak to people who work hard at doing what they love and who are intensely committed to their craft and are willing to stay the course and support others like them. Through the relationships personified within this project, my intention is to create another world, to construct an illusion for people to experience the breathings of another time where a vagabond life in the arts produced profound relationships and tightly knit communities.


Putting this project together took weeks of preparation. This idea had been manifesting for a while and I started gathering antiques from garage sales and thrift stores. Some items I bought while others have been passed down in my family. A pair of my great-grandmother’s shoes and one of my grandfather’s trunks from World War II were used in the photographs. Each and every item was deliberately chosen to help create the illusion of the 1930s and 40s. Aside from the props used, I am grateful to have many friends that were willing to help me by dedicating their time and modeling for the photographs. I thoughtfully designed a character and a backstory for each of the models featured in these photographs, and conceptualized the relationships between them. In the end, what I admired the most about these photographs was the genuine interactions between the people as they created a kindred community.