Consisting of personal photographs, diaries, and collages that combine the two; each piece is the obsessive record of a time and place in the artist's life. The collection started in 2007 in a hand built cottage in rural France. With no running water, no electricity and only a fireplace for heat, Tillman meticulously recorded her rocky experience of stealing potatoes and beet greens from the local fields, scavenging for firewood on the beach and trying desperately to maintain her relationship among the challenges of language, isolation, weather, and being flat broke. With each entry in her diary, Tillman was able to save the memory, to mark the passing of time and make sense of the unreliable thoughts that raced through her mind.
By living each day twice, first through it’s experience and lastly by writing it down, Tillman was able to create a world that suited her more than the one outside her own mind. To shape its corners, to fill the pages of her diary with her life Tillman allows herself to experience the color of it again and again and again. She is an island unto herself and the people and places that exist with and around her are elevated to mythic status, imbued with mystery and considered in all their complexity. Her photography accomplishes this same intention. It was on this trip that a renewed interest in photography was sparked.
After having learned to work in the dark room at age 14, Tillman had lost the passion for taking and printing photographs by the time she entered college. She focused instead on her writing. But when her boyfriend gave her his grandmother’s Pentax camera for her 21st birthday, her interest was revived. Among the early subjects of this revival was the magnificent desolation of the Arizona desert and Rick, the boyfriend who lived there in a crumbling adobe. When the couple temporarily moved to France, the camera and the diary came with and both have never failed in aiding Tillman in her obsession to capture time and gain repeated access to the past. From Arizona and France came a road trip to Spain in an ailing Peugeot coupe and later a trip alone to Iceland. The pictures begin to thin during Tillman’s tenure in Graduate School but come back with raging force when she meets her husband, Josh in 2011. From nearly their first meeting Tillman brought her camera and recorded their life together as it took shape. From early days at his house in Los Angeles, mushroom trips in the Joshua Tree desert and across the world from Norway to Mexico, Tillman traveled with Josh and recorded nearly every day the couple has spent together since. The need to keep time is familiar to Tillman. Since she was a child she saved things, collected memories, recounted days to herself before bedtime, felt the ephemeral passing of time with great intensity and longed for a way to capture it.