On her website, Lee introduces the series with a quote from French phenomenological philosopher, Maurice Merlau-Pony. It reads; “Visible and mobile, my body is a thing among things; it’s caught in the fabric of the world, and its cohesion is that of a thing. But, because it moves itself and sees, it holds things in a circle around itself.” This quote is indeed pertinent to ‘The Appearance of Things’, which seems itself to both create and collapse that circle. The photographs show the way in which we are caught in the fabric of the landscape; both separate and the same as the natural world which surrounds us. Women, in their multitude of ages and forms, are woven into the landscape; their naked bodies as much a part of it as the flowers that bloom around them, or the kelp that laps at their body as they float in the ocean amongst it.
In ‘The Appearance of Things’, these portraits are broken up by a series that documents flowers and fruit in various stages of watery decomposition; still life vanitas that seem to allude to the organic process of life and death. “The Appearance of Things”, Lee explains in a statement about the series, “attempts to access this tactile and optical experience and explores how we are enmeshed in an embodied and ephemeral world. All life, including our human form and being, passes through stages of birth, blossoming and death.”