Sick Day ©PollyGaillard
Sick Day ©PollyGaillard


Pressure Points is a photographic series that documents my post-divorce life with my daughter. I am interested in the awkward moments we share together that reveal idiosyncrasies, intimacy or distance. At times, I set the stage for a photographic moment to occur and other times I observe as she is unaware of my presence. The divorce plays out in our lives both in subtle and startling ways as I observe her through windows, behind a sofa pillow, or in the shade of my house. The awkwardness of childhood surprises me as I record fragments of her body through the lens; fragments that refer to the severing of the family unit. It is a half-life we share due to custody obligations. She is here and then she is gone.  

My process of exploration shifts at times from constructing or observing the scene to documenting remnants of her presence, or what remains after she is absent from the scene. I am interested in how these daily actions accrue meaning, or stand in for her despite her absence. These remnants take the shape of ordinary things: a plastic bag that contained chocolate, Barbie dolls in the bathtub, or the remains of breakfast in the late morning light. The remnants, either photographed or scanned become a marker of her life left by her presence. Each object and moment is obsessively collected and scanned or documented by the camera in a way that refers to the difficulty of letting go and the thoughts of loss that follow. The photographs from Pressure Points strive to monumentalize moments with my child and the objects she has encountered or arranged in my effort to comment on the significance of motherhood, memory, and loss. 

Pressure Points within our bodies are bundles of nerves that when pressed can cause pleasure or pain. The practice of acupuncture asserts these points are energy channels that allow our “life-force” to flow through our bodies. My interior pressure points often involve being a single-mother of an only child. The constant push/pull, pleasure/pain and guilt/joy of motherhood create a sense of ambivalence that at moments can be overwhelming and at other moments life renewing. – Polly Gaillard



Polly Gaillard has been making portraits and teaching photography classes and workshops for more than fifteen years.  She has recently added photography writing to her skillset with an online blog, On Photography.  Polly received a Master of Fine Arts in Visual Arts from Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2010.  She has exhibited her fine art photographs nationally and published her first limited edition artist book, Pressure Points, with a forward by Jamie Lee Curtis in 2015.   Her photographic skills traverse contemporary art, documentary, portrait and traditional photographic practices.  She lives in Greenville, SC with her thirteen-year-old daughter.

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