Photography  Akos Major

This is my playground.

My name is Monica, and shrines have always fascinated me. I used to build them on the bottom shelf of my bedroom closet. Anything that held significance, I arranged perfectly to create a sacred place for me. Candles, photographs, religious figurines—anything with special meaning. (The one rule my parents enforced was candles remained unlit.)

I have always liked tiny items that are slightly off, a little bit creepy, or have a mystery about them. I would collect them, never understanding why I needed these totems or fetishes, but knowing someday they would reveal their purpose. I think they were just waiting for me to discover that somehow they would find their mates and tell a story. A story that encompasses whimsy, pain, comfort, deep understanding or connection.

In telling these stories, I have discovered deeper understanding of the subconscious and the interconnection between people and their own longings—and belongings. My shrines are an expression of something greater than myself and are a visual embodiment showing what cannot be understood.

Today my shrines are out of the bedroom closet, and lit from within. They are kindled with my longing to give credence to feelings and needs. They’re a quest for order and meaning. Friends will ask me for interpretations, but I can’t always give answer to unconscious motivation. Let’s just call it divine inspiration.

Contact Info

Monica Stegeman
Little Shrines
1356 Kirk Dr.
Grand Rapids, MI