All rights reserved L.Mikelle Standbridge

2020 in print & sculpture format

This piece is entitled, Doing Time; A Love Story and is comprised of over 60 photos.
From the Photo-Bodies series.

All prints are Hahnemuhle Fine Art photography paper
Varying dimensions ranging from  10 x 8 cm. up to 24 x 17 cm
Editions of 1-9 + I artist proof

Doing Time; A love story
A series initiated in 2013 and completed during COVID-19 lockdown in 2020

This is the story of Signorina F, how her body preceded/predicted the future, and how this “body of work” about her, as a collection of photographs, came to occupy a physical volume of memories.

I started photographing Signorina F in 2013 and even if, at any given moment, life never seems simple, it was, looking back, a carefree time for her. I took seemingly meaningless pictures but it was only in 2020 that I could see that our collaboration of making pictures together on that first afternoon was a predecessor, a prediction, a Tarot card kind of event. Those images, that I took home and elaborated in Photoshop, I could never use. I didn’t know what they meant.  For example I had added a hand in a box in the corner of one of the scenes, as if there should be a caress, but it was isolated in a separate cell. I added to her portrait a mask. Why? We did images of gazing out the window, looking through grids, and hands lingering on the lock of the window. Why would I use these themes? I didn’t know.  Also, I wondered if the symbolism of her tattoos – a skull, a key the literal size of a jail key, a bleeding sacred heart wrapped in thorns, children’s toys – hadn’t in some way anticipated the future, as if she had actually inscribed on her body destiny.

I returned one year later, January 2014, to photograph Signorina F during her first pregnancy. There was a new partner on the scene, she was in love, and this was the fruit of their intimacy. February 2014, the newspaper headlines read, “Taxi driver killed over an argument about pedestrian rights”. Signorina F’s partner, 49 year old computer consultant, lost his temper when he and she, 9 months pregnant, were almost hit by a taxi driver as they were traversing the crosswalk. A quarrel ensued between her partner and the driver. The scene went into slow motion – the taxi driver got out of the car, they exchanged words, a shove, the taxi driver lost his balance, fell, hit his head. The driver seemed ok, but died later that day from a brain hemorrhage. This was of course a totally unintended ending.

During the three days that followed, her partner was held in jail and Signorina F, crying for 24 hours straight, gave birth alone. Then, in the time frame between the fatal event and it going to trial – almost two years – they conceived another child. This was a period of house arrest for him, but she told me that “between those four walls, the three of them filled the world”. I returned in November of 2016 to photograph this second pregnancy.  I photographed her in her ninth month, and I returned when the baby was a few weeks old. The photographs I took of the new born seemed to be about the unpredictability of life and death, their entwinement, but also about being swept away by the delicacy and faith of innocence.  Shortly thereafter, on a cold January day, they received the verdict: he was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to 10 years.

It wasn’t until the pandemic in 2020 that I started to think acutely about Signorina F again. It had to do with the news I had heard about inmates protesting against the lack of protection against the Corona Virus in prison, and also due to a reduced staff, certain inmates were liberated, being granted permission to go home until the pandemic subsided. I knew that she had been living as a single mom of two young children all these years and I wondered if her partner was going to be able to briefly come home.

I contacted her to find out and while there was great hope, his release never came to fruition. In the meantime, my own lockdown and the crisis somehow gave me the insight I needed to see for the first time the images we had created together — the skull, the masks, the imprisoned caress, the children’s toys — it all had meaning now.  Signorina F’s body told the story and I was ready to make it into a “body of work”.

What is a photograph when held? It is a piece of paper that fills in, takes up room inside of us, reconstitutes. We need a volume to constitute a wholeness, a completeness. How many albums? Many and the more cumbersome the better. The prints should cover the kitchen table when all spread out so the kids weigh on them with sticky elbows. A photograph is more powerful when passed around, when accompanied with a tactile sensation. Signorina F, when consenting to the public rendering of her story, asked me to at least bring beauty with my art. With these multiple images, I wanted to fill the corners of memory, occupy space, and reconstruct something for her and her family.


All the images are displayed together (installation view one)


All the images are displayed together (installation view two)

Doing Time installation view

All images are displayed together (installation view three)


All images displayed together (installation view four)



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Doing Time; A Love Story#1


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