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Photo of the Week #174

Jo Ann Chaus

Woman sitting alone in a diner booth, next to a window, in slanting light. She is looking at the camera.

Daisy's Grill, 2020
From the series Conversations with Myself


January 3, 2022
Jo Ann Chaus's current body of work, Conversations with Myself, feels perfectly suited for our times. In these self-portraits, Chaus examines the intersecting roles that come from her relationships in society—woman, wife, mother, and artist—ultimately turning inward, to examine her relationship to herself.

As we've all grown accustomed to doing more things remotely, and replacing large gatherings with more individual pursuits, opportunities for self-reflection have increased in proportion. The performative nature of Chaus's self portraiture hints at the role of self-determination in the creation of identity. At the same time, she alludes to what is handed-down to us, using inherited clothing and staged situations to conjure images that feel like half-remembered scenes from our collective cultural memory. In this photograph, the solitude and slanting light of the diner might bring to mind the moody Americana of a painting by Edward Hopper.