Photographer Rachel Deutmeyer found that you can’t go home again—but that inaccessibility became a route to this powerful visual meditation on loss, change, and memory.
Deutmeyer, an assistant professor of photography at Carson-Newman University in Jefferson City, Tennessee, had originally set out to explore the small town in Dubuque County where she was raised, but she found she was unable to access the center of her memories: her childhood home. This absence rendered her familiar surroundings foreign, and the house became, in her project, a symbol of what we lose in the passage from youth to adulthood.
The 15 works on view momentarily suspend a landscape in constant change. Spring buds, shadows, sunlight, butterflies, and multiple exposures of the exteriors of houses photographed across the Midwest become reflections of not only the inexorable passage of time but the wavering quality of memory itself. “I edited and sequenced the images to construct a narrative that references a bygone time in my own life,” she wrote, “but they also address collective ideas of home, family, and loss,” a sentiment that turns this highly personal project into a universal one.
Deutmeyer’s work was first exhibited at DuMA in the 2019 Biennial, making Everything Fades both a homecoming and an evolution. “Change is often slow and unnoticed until it suddenly feels permanent and inevitable,” she reflected. “I found beauty in things that were changing, as we are all changing.”
About the Artist
Rachel Deutmeyer is an artist and educator living in East Tennessee. Her photography-based art explores inconsistencies of memory and connections to place beyond tangible perception. Abstractly tied to childhood memories and the significance of motherhood, Deutmeyer’s work reflects lived experiences as places of joy, sorrow, contemplation, and peace.
Raised in eastern Iowa, Deutmeyer graduated with a BA in Graphic Design from Ashford University and an MFA in Integrated Visual Arts from Iowa State University. Her artwork has been featured in more than 40 regional and national exhibitions. Deutmeyer currently teaches photography, theory, and history as Assistant Professor of Photography at Carson-Newman University in Jefferson City, Tennessee.
“DuMA has been a source of inspiration throughout my creative career. I visited many times as a university student, was happy to be included as an artist in the 2019 Biennial, and am so excited to share a solo exhibition of photographs at the Museum this summer. The project relates to my own experiences growing up in Dubuque County, so it’s a special opportunity to share images at DuMA that are inspired by and reflective of the local community.”