Ryan O’Toole Collett

Visions of St Helena S.C

 The island of St Helena, occupying a unique place in the geography and cultural development of South Carolina, was the first place in America inhabited by non-indigenous people. I was initially drawn to the island by its far-reaching history, and the unique fact of a specific cultural identity that for many is borne out of a direct ancestral connection to Africa, as well as a turbulent relationship with the United States. This project presents the idea of the symbiotic relationship between generations of people and history-laden land, and the equilibrium between the two. It contains my visions of the island and the people that live there and an interpretation by some of its young inhabitants, representing the most recent link in this evolution of identity – as well as a composite yet singular voice, taken from varying spoken testimonies across generations.

I hope to evoke feeling, not only for the subject, but also of my experience. I worry about the arrogance of photography, and assumed authority.



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