30 Aug Featured CPAC Member: Cody Bratt
Member Since: 2017
Each quarter, we share a portfolio by one of CPAC’s many talented members. This time it’s Cody Bratt, a San Francisco-based artist who recently won “Best in Show” at CPAC’s 2019 Annual Members’ Show for his image, Into Oblivion. We wanted to see more, and he kindly agreed to share a selection of photographs from his series Love We Leave Behind.
Love We Leave Behind is Cody’s debut monograph published by Fraction Editions in 2017. He describes it as “an emotional documentary of the journey we undertake while breaking away from a love which is at once both intoxicating and extremely damaging for both involved.” The project was recently named one of the Photolucida Top 50 Portfolios and was previously a top finalist for the Center for Documentary Studies’ Honickman First Book Prize in Photography. Copies are available for purchase on the artist’s website.
If you happen to be in Los Angeles this fall, you can see Cody’s work at the Los Angeles Center of Photography’s Photobook Competition, September 13 – October 16, 2019 at the LACP Gallery.
Love We Leave Behind
“Don’t leave me now
Don’t say goodbye
Don’t turn around
Leave me high and dry
I hear the birds on the summer breeze, I drive fast
I am alone in the night
Been tryin’ hard not to get in trouble, but I
I’ve got a war in my mind
I just ride
Just ride, I just ride, I just ride”
– Lyrics by Lana Del Rey, Ride
Love We Leave Behind is born from revisited memories of a formative relationship I shared with a partner many years ago. We loved each other fervently, yet we were unable to manage the respective fears and challenges we each brought to the other. As the relationship progressed, we were unaware that we were endlessly pirouetting between joy and self-destruction with each passing day. Even as we began to realize, neither of us were quite able to let go of each despite passing the relationship’s expiration date.
In making these photographs and the monograph, I wanted to create an “emotional documentary” of which depicts the journey one might take in trying to find the strength to break away from such a sickly love. Each photograph doesn’t mark a literal or specific memory. I mean the photographs to be read as an ambiguous state of mind, as memories and dreams simultaneously half invented and half lived. Indeed, many of these moments are drawn from recurring images I only vaguely remember now.
My goal was to create a series of photographs which felt specific enough to be familiar, yet open enough for the viewer to inhabit and fill in with their own story. I borrowed recognizable visual tableaus from the American road trip and mixed them with intimate portraits in temporary spaces meant to depict the interior moments of the journey. Combined, I hope they render the lyrical, although never reliably factual, sense of searching, discovery and loss inherent in letting go. –Cody Bratt
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Cody Bratt (b. 1982) is a San Francisco-born and based artist. His father, a photoengraver, and his mother, a multimedia artist, inspired his love of photography and book making, in particular. He holds a BA in Rhetoric with a formal concentration in Narrative and Image from the University of California, Berkeley (2005). Shying away from a literal approach, Cody’s photography employees primarily non-linear emotional or psychological approaches to exploring subjects and concepts. Unreliable memories, displacement, loss and coming of age feature centrally in Cody’s work.
He has exhibited internationally at Athens Photo Festival, Berlin Art Week, Month of Photography Los Angeles, Griffin Museum of Photography, Colorado Photographic Arts Center, ICP Museum, Brighton Photo Fringe, Filter Photo Festival amongst others. Cody is a 2016 LensCulture Emerging 50 Talent and 2018 PDN 30 nominee. Cody’s first monograph, LOVE WE LEAVE BEHIND, debuted by Fraction Editions in 2018. The series was awarded a 2018 Photolucida Critical Mass Top 50 distinction, named as a finalist for the 2016 Duke University CDS/Honickman First Book Prize and had images selected and published as winners in American Photography 34 (2018).
His work is public and private collections in several states across the US, as well as Europe. Cody’s work has been published worldwide in print and online venues including PDN, LensCulture, Lomography Magazine, iGNANT, Gente Di Fotografia, Blur Magazine, Aint-Bad, Float Magazine amongst others.