The Photographic Journal

Silent Retreat

Essay 303 • Jun 25th 2018

I went to a silent retreat run by catholic nuns about four hours away from Montreal and shot a photo essay which is part self-portrait series as a queer/trans person reflecting on my catholic past, part documentary on this retirement home for the nuns. I was interested in it because 1) I desperately needed some time away from the constant demands of freelance life and 2) I was interested in looking back to my catholic heritage, as someone who was baptized but never knew much about the religion. 

We were instructed to look within ourselves and think about the various transitions in our lives - we were only allowed to write and think but I figured taking self-portraits was also a form of introspection. I was also struck by the beauty of the space; the symmetry, the colour coordination, the obsolete aesthetic. Thankfully, I had brought in my phone (on airplane mode) to use as an alarm clock, so I started photographing everything I could in secret, feeling a bit clandestine, and these images are the result. 


Laurence Philomene

Laurence Philomene is a 22 year old triple Gemini. Picked up a camera ten years ago and hasn’t stopped shooting since then. She likes the color pink, softness, and Cheetos. When she is not working as a photographer you can find her snuggled up at the library studying history and watching Gilmore Girls on loop.
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