One of the highlights of the recent Filter Photo Festival in Chicago, was meeting so many wonderful photographers and and reviewing some terrific portfolios. Barbara Ciurej and Lindsay Lochman presented two stellar series, one of which I am featuring here. Barbara and Lindsay have collaborated as photographers for over thirty years, and the results show a deep knowledge of art, photography, and themselves.
Barbara Ciurej and Lindsay Lochman met as students at the Institute of Design in Chicago at Illinois Institute of Technology over three decades ago. They are drawn to the narratives of femininity — from domestic mythologies to the imprint of history and popular culture in shaping how we see ourselves. Their photographs comment on the consequences of these processes and showcase our connection to the natural world, reflecting the sensual and powerful beauty of being alive. Their photographs have been in numerous solo and group exhibits and are in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Walker Art Center, the Museum of Contemporary Photography and the Milwaukee Art Museum. Barbara is a photographer/graphic designer living and working in Chicago. Lindsay is a Milwaukee based photographer and teaches at the University of Wisconsin.
The stunning series below, Natural History, features one-of-a-kind cyanotypes that incorporate portraiture and botanicals. The juxtaposition of faces that show history and presence with the fragility of flowers and plant life bring a renewed energy to the standard portrait.
In Natural History, we transform portraits into tangled shadows of time. Grafting techniques from the history of photography, the cyanotype impressions of botanicals pay homage to Anna Atkins’ use of the medium in the nineteenth century while the underlying portraits are printed using digital technology. They speak of evanescence and hidden nature. Mapping inner life, they are blends of art, science and historythrough the portrait.
They wished to flower,
and flowering is being beautiful:
but we wish to ripen,
and that means being dark and taking pains.
—Rainer Maria Rilke