A story as old and as powerful as Joan’s has inspired many creative works, and I, in turn, was inspired by them. Leonard Cohen’s beautiful song, Joan of Arc, with its haunting melody and lyrics loaded with metaphors and archetypes, was an early catalyst for this body of work. Another musical-poetic influence was Patti Smith. George Bernard Shaw’s play, St. Joan, and Mark Twain’s, Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc, are important literary interpretations of Joan. However, as a photographer I wanted to add a different interpretative element to the body of work surrounding this amazing young woman, “a stencil of the real” as Susan Sontag says in her seminal work, “On Photography”. The statues of Joan were created by artisans to reflect mythical and stereotypical interpretations of Joan. In much the same way, I use photographs of their art to ask questions and challenge those assumptions.
For centuries, Joan has embodied the hope of women who dream of accomplishments in the face of religious oppression and the constraints of a patriarchal society. My hope is that my work raises awareness of Joan and reveals correlations relating to modern-day feminist issues. It further seeks to enhance understanding of this extraordinary young woman, without whom France would likely have ceased to be a country in the fifteenth century.