“A lot of my work has undertones of female sexuality and ritual, because photography was a place where it was okay to explore those things,” says Tabitha Barnard, the oldest of four sisters raised in a close-knit, religious community in rural Maine. “In photographing my sisters, and in trying to find a private place to do that, we kind of found this escape. I could always just tell my parents it was make-believe.”
Growing up, the sisters were surrounded by stories of witches and monsters, often read to them by their mother with the intention of scaring them. They ended up becoming a topic of fascination instead, inspiring elaborate fantasy games the sisters would make up and play together. As Barnard got older, she began to look into the darker stories in the Bible, and was captivated by tales of wicked and promiscuous women like the Witch of Endor and the Whore of Babylon.