Josie Hayslette
Photography & Media

Josie Hayslette (American, b. 1998) is a photographer documenting and exploring her day to day life and the people, spaces, and places that create it. She also examines her personal relationshipwith self, self identity, sexuality, love, heartbreak, grief, and isolation During both the documentation and archival process she is able to remember, process, and make peace with the circumstance that come with the ebs and flows of day to day life.

In her series, Growing Pains, Hayslette works with lighting, color, focus, and frame to capture the fleeting moments in life, the mundane, the beautiful, the still, and the heartbreaking. Hayslette wants to document these moments to remember and share her experiences with others, while processing how life has unfolded. Hayslette will receive her BFA in Photography and Media Arts from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in May of 2022.

Artist Statement:

Growing Pains, is a photographic series which documents my life, the people around me, and the spaces I occupy. The work emcompasses the ebs and flows of my life as a queer woman in the 21st century providing glimpses of love and heartbreak, moments of joy and mourning, stillness and chaos.

Pouring through my vast collection of photographs, which I have made over the course of several years, the work is an attempt to make sense of what has unfolded before my eyes, primarily, tracing the past against my current perspective. Life changes in front of me, without my permission. Through documenting the world around me I stop time-- even if for a mere second, make space for reflection and comprehension. I focus on the idea of fleeting moments, once in a lifetime experiences that never recur.

In this specific series of photographs, I am faced with different life experiences and moments of my first heartbreak. Living in our first home together, yet now alone, has forced me to look at the space differently than previous series within my project. The stillness and quietness is deafening but beautiful; it has proven to be difficult to document such things but necessary in my process of healing. I’ve been able to find serenity in the emptiness and growth in the loss of her. As a queer woman I have found it difficult to mourn and grieve this loss with my friends and family, but in that uncertainty I have found support and love in people and spaces I never thought possible. Getting to document these people and moments has helped me navigate the feelings: to make sense of them.

When taking photos I bring the element of portrait photography by paying attention to subject, lighting, focus, color, and composition. I also shoot with a documentary style approach by continually remaining focused on the moments that are fleeting-- the once in a lifetime shots that would never happen again. These are the moments I can look back and reflect on, because if I don’t the memories made during this particular time in my life would be pushed to the depths of my brain, never to be thought of again. The distance from these memories allows me to breathe, but reflecting on them in this way allows me to understand and heal.