Tag Archives: Loneliness

Grant Gill interviews Sarah Moore

Introducing editorial assistant Grant Gil as he shares a recent interview he conducted with Sarah Moore….

For the past few months I have been very grateful not only for being able to help out with LENSCRATCH but also getting to know Aline as a colleague and friend.  This spring, I will be finishing my last semester at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design with a focus on photography.  This opportunity has been a great educational tool in submersing myself in the variety of different works posted everyday, and also has let me view the art making world from a different perspective.
I was first introduced to Sarah Moore’s work after she had been featured in Fraction Magazine, and since then we have constantly crossed paths without actually formally meeting.  I then begun following her journey across country, from Philadelphia to Santa Fe, able to watch her work change and adapt based on location. I find myself transfixed on her beautiful landscapes that make me yearn for travel, but even more so I am fascinated with her raw interactions with nature that translate emotional isolation and loneliness.  Because of her young age, emerging status, and her stamina to continuously work I am constantly inspired to do more, work harder.  Today I am showing images from two of her series: expanse and Scape.

Sarah Moore was born and raised in South Dakota, where she still finds much of her inspiration for her work. She received her BFA in Photography from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2009 and has since lived and traveled throughout the country. Much of Sarah’s work deals with the ideas of loneliness, escaping, and the ways landscapes inform and shape us. Her work has been shown throughout the country and online. She is currently living and working in Santa Fe, NM, where she is trying to understand the harsh light and delve into the book-making world.

expanse:
Throughout the years I have become increasingly interested in my home of South Dakota and how the people and place shaped me and continue to influence me. Even though I appreciate many aspects of the Midwest and still long for its landscape, it represents the pinnacle of loneliness in my life.

My photography is a depiction of this loneliness. The landscapes of the Midwest are beautiful but empty, simple but overwhelming. My relationship to my home is based on love, but also thwarted by distance. Since moving from South Dakota, I continue to find solace but also conflict in the land around me. I now see many moments in my life as a way to document or construct a personal narrative of isolation, both representative of my past and indicative of my present.

Expanses can be comforting but also stifling. Distances can fuel love but also misunderstanding. The vast space of the land is something I can’t quite embrace, break free from, or understand, but it provides infinite inspiration for me.

What is you personal statement as
an artist, or how exactly would you describe the work you make?
Most of my work comes from a very personal and emotional
place.  I photograph mostly
landscapes and self-portraits.  I
started doing both in 2007, when I went back home to South Dakota to
shoot.  Focusing on landscapes has
always allowed me to break free from the personal connections I have with
people.  Still though, I love
portraiture and what a person can show in a photograph, so self-portraiture is
a way for me to still use a person in my photography, while still keeping the
work mainly about me.
Is this personal place derived from
a specific event, or just a general emotional state?
It’s a little of both. 
My parents divorced when I was four because my dad is gay.  This is something I’ve more than come
to terms with now, but it was tough to deal with while growing up in the
conservative Midwest.  I think the
divorce and the subsequent silence my family kept about it instilled a sense of
“me versus the world.”  I grew up thinking it was best to keep quiet about big issues,
especially emotional ones.  Then I
eventually thought it was just best to keep quiet in general.  So I spent my years in South Dakota
sort of closing myself off from everyone, not knowing how or if I should share
the important parts of myself.
After leaving South Dakota, I learned that even if I have
some trust issues and some issues with the way my problems were handled, I can
still try to share a part of myself through my photography.  If loneliness was going to be such a
big part of my life then I wanted to at least make it part of my work.
I read so much visual poetry in to
your work, from the breath taking sights to the self-portraits that begin to
blend in with the surroundings.  I
see this action of back and forth between the photographs and the
photographer.  I wonder why you
choose to turn the camera inwards?
Photographing myself started about six years ago, when I
first went back to South Dakota.  I
wanted to put a person in the overwhelming landscape, and I was the most
accessible.  Throughout the years,
I’ve learned that one of the best ways to portray what a landscape and a moment
mean to me is to photograph myself. 
I think my self-portraiture is definitely part
narcissism.  But then again, isn’t
most photography rather narcissistic? 
As photographers, we capture what or whom we want to be seen and how we
want them seen.  It can be a very
selfish medium.  Yet by showing
others what or who we see, maybe we can also affect or help others. 
Another part of turning the camera towards myself deals with
my own issues of insecurity and loneliness.  I don’t like images of myself, and in real life, I’m not often
apt to open up to people.  I have
too many walls built up.  I guess
through photography I allow myself, my body, my face, and my emotions to take
center stage.  I get to act a
bit.  I get to be important.  And I hopefully get to communicate with
others through my images.
Do you have any specific
philosophies when it comes to humans and their interactions with nature?  What books, or even other work, do you look
to when making the images you do?
I’m still trying to figure out what and how I feel about the
human interaction with nature.  I
know my own relationship to nature is pretty complicated.  Though I grew up in a rural place, with
large expanses of land all around me, I still never felt really in tune with
nature.  And after living in cities
for seven years, I felt even more detached from nature.  Yet, I long for the land.  I think many people do.  I think there’s something in us that
wants to be closer to nature, but we’re not sure how to do that in this
increasingly electronic and cement culture.
People go camping or gazing at national parks, feeling for a
moment that they’re immersed in their primitive roots.  That’s about as close to nature as many
live.  People like to be able to
feel close to the land while at the same time in control of it.  I’m the same way, I admit.  I bring my camera to the land with me,
perhaps trying to harness my own little bit of control over the wild vastness.
Years ago, when I was starting my photography project in
South Dakota, I looked a lot at Todd Hido and Larry Sultan’s work.  I read a lot of theories about
photography and families at that time too.  For the past few years, I’ve been reading way too much David
Foster Wallace.  His work doesn’t
deal with nature explicitly, but it does talk about human society and our
alienation from each other, the landscape, and ourselves.  I think I’m more interested in reading
about the human psyche and weird outbursts in society than I am about humans
versus nature. 
Do you ever feel you are having a
visual conversation with other landscape and travel photographers, both
historically and in the contemporary?
It’s hard not to feel that way, honestly.  There are a lot of landscape and travel
photographers out there.  Sometimes
I’m constantly comparing my work to others’, but I try to maintain my own
vision and keep a peace with myself. 
I get overwhelmed really easily and intimidated even more easily.  It’s definitely important to be aware
of your peers, both contemporary and historically, but it’s also important to
forge ahead on your own.  I think
part of the reason I was in a rut while living in Philly was that I was just
too scared to make images.  I
thought everyone saw better places, had better ideas, and executed their ideas
better.  So I just stopped
creating. Obviously that’s not a good answer, so now I try to keep in tune with
other work (especially landscape and self-portraiture), but I also just try to
create for myself.
There is a lot of reference to time
passing and travel within all of your work.  In Scape there is this feeling that nothing is
constant, like you are drifting from place to place.
I’ve never been good at photographing in my own backyard, so
to speak.  For one reason or
another, escaping has become increasingly important or my photography.  That has meant escaping back to where I
grew up, escaping all over the country, and escaping to large city parks outside
of the city.
My first large travel experience, photographically, was in
the fall of 2011, when I made my work in Scape.  I mostly went on that trip because it had been about two
years since I really photographed. Living in Philadelphia after college put me
in some sort of photographic and emotional rut, so the only way I thought to
get out of it was to travel and see again.  That trip was literally about escaping and reinventing.
I love traveling and seeing new places, especially
landscapes.  That will probably
never go away in me.  Yet, I also
really need to travel to be alone sometimes.  As I’ve mentioned, loneliness (or my illusion of it) is
partially ingrained in me, and I’ve found that traveling to different
landscapes helps me cope with my loneliness. 
I am aware that you just moved out
to Santa Fe, NM.  It seems like you
have lived in some very different places in America’s geography.  Does shifting
home this much affect your work?
Yes, it definitely does.  Each place I’ve lived has a different geography and
different social climate.  Even
though I’m not great at photographing where I live, I’m trying to get better at
that.  When I lived in Ohio, I had
a realization that I was going to be in this strange place for about a year, so
I had to make the most of it with my photography.  That’s when I started photographing the large parks in and
around Columbus.  I tried in some
way to make the Ohio land a part of me.
I’m still trying to grasp the New Mexico landscape and how
this is home for me now.  It seems
that once I get used to a place, especially geographically, I move.  It takes time for me to acclimate to a
landscape, and the New Mexico one is especially difficult.  I’m not used to intense sun or
mountains, not to mention adobe architecture and small pueblos.  It’s more of a “wild” land
than most places I’ve lived, which is hard for me to grasp photographically,
strangely enough.
Overall, shifting my homes helps reopen my eyes to the
constants and changes in my art and myself.  I’m starting to learn which terrains I appreciate and which
light I want to follow.  I also
really enjoy the challenge of trying to make a place my own, especially through
my photography.
Why exactly do you think it is so
hard photographing your direct surroundings?  Does the familiar become too mundane?
I think in some ways, I feel too close to my immediate
surroundings.  It’s not that I find
the familiar mundane–in fact, I’m constantly inspired by what I see.  I actually tend to post photos on Instagram
of every mundane moment I have or see. 
Yet, when it comes to my other photography–the work I think about more
and use my “real” cameras for–I always seem to need to go away to
make that work.
I try to delve into some part of my emotional past and
present when photographing portraits and landscapes.  And I think in order for me to do that, at least right now,
I need to go outside of my comfort zone, outside of my immediate space.  Unfamiliar landscapes–even if they’re
within mere miles of where I work, eat, and sleep–help me disconnect from my
everyday life and find a part of myself that I want to explore more.
Nothing is really mundane to me.  I just find different types of inspiration in different
places.
Because nature is quite vast, and
easily accessible, are there specific images that you strive for, that you go
out to shoot, or is there spontaneity to your photographs?
When photographing in South Dakota, I usually have specific
shots that I strive for.  I know
that landscape pretty well, and I know that it’s largely the same view
everywhere you look.  So I know
that I need to look for a certain type of field or certain color palette when
I’m there.  I try to use the
repetition of that landscape to my advantage, which sometimes takes a lot of
pre-visualization and some sketches.
When I’m traveling to different landscapes in shorter
periods of time, I tend to shoot more and shoot very spontaneously.  Unfamiliar landscapes force me to be
more spontaneous, and spontaneity forces me to try more things and make more
images.
I like both methods of shooting, if they’re methods at
all.  I love the slowness of my
South Dakota photography, and how it allows me to think about that one specific
landscape over the years.  Of
course, I also love seeing a wide variety of terrains within a short period of
time. The diversity of the land allows me to think about how to connect all
those terrains into my life.
You deal with many over arching
themes, so how do you declare a body of work finished?  Does it necessarily finish when you
move, such as when you left Ohio, or is there potential for it to continue?
I think there’s always some potential for most of my
projects to continue, especially my work in South Dakota.  I’d love to continue to photograph in
Ohio as well, and since my dad lives there, that will probably happen in the
future.  On some level, I do
declare a body of work finished once I move, since it’s easy to wrap up
projects at that point.  Yet, since
I go back to both South Dakota and Ohio so often, I’d like to keep both of
those projects open for a while.
My work in Scape is definitely finished though; at least I’m
finished making the images.  That
project, though I didn’t know it at the time, was about a specific journey at a
specific time in my life.  It
chronicles a road trip around the country during a time when I needed it
most.  Though I definitely plan on
going on more road trips in the future, they won’t fit into what Scape became, because
I’m not in the same personal space as I was then.
I also see many of my separate projects as part of a general
whole body of work.  All of my
photography deals with escapism, alienation, self-searching, and the land.  I don’t see an “end” to that whole
project anytime soon.  So for now,
everything is sort of left open.

Scape
These photographs document a journey through America. They are images of wonder and excitement,pain and loneliness, and my personal ideas of self. Additionally, they are portraits of America’s land.

I often can’t relate to America as it’s depicted through the media’s eyes. I find it difficult live up to cultural standards and societal expectations. I have trouble getting close to those closest to me. Yet, when I see America—the America of such diverse, beautiful, and nuanced terrain—I find that even if I can’t understand what America has become, what people around me have become, or what I’ve become, I can feel comfort in the landscapes.

This collection is vast. Not every photo is perfect. Immense meaning won’t be found at every turn. Rather, the photos are a way for me to both explore and escape where I live and who I am.
































Europe Week: Salva Lopez

Guest editor, Jacqueline Roberts shares a week of European photographers, starting with Salva Lopez. A huge thank you toJacqueline for her insight and efforts. Her statement for why she selected the photographers follows: 


 I chose these photographs because they move me. They are portraits of people, young or old. They tell a story, maybe theirs, maybe ours. Some speak softly, hushing over us like in Lopez’ muted portraits of old people. Others exude exuberance and vitality, like in Laboile’s family life. Some are languid portraits, others raw pictures of a sore existence. Some stare right back at us, like in Videnin’s photographs; others gently lower their gaze. Yet for me, they all share that essential quality that turns a good photograph into a great one: immediacy. We know a good photograph when we see one. When I look at these images, I relate to them immediately, to the people they portray, to the narrative. They have their own language, a language that speak to me, a language that I understand. There is an intuitive connection that synchronises our own experience with a photograph. A reciprocal flow. An empathic exchange. 


I was at Getxophoto this summer, an international photo festival near Bilbao (Spain), and it struck me when two passers-by paused in front of a photograph and remarked: “Oh that’s very nice, but what does that mean? What was the artist trying to tell us?” searching for answers. Images carry meaning, they do; but in my case, it is the quest for questions that I relish when looking at a photograph. To me, these photographs tell us about loneliness, joy and pain; about dreams, beauty and hopelessness; about search and loss… Vehicles for meanings, emotions and thoughts. Stories of bodies and souls… ultimately, metaphors of life and what lies underneath.–Jacqueline Roberts


image by Salva Lopez


Salva López (Barcelona, 1984) trained as a graphic designer but when he discovered photographers Stephen Shore, Joel Sternfeld and Alec Soth, he realised that photography was what he wanted to do. Since then Salva has gained recognition in Spain as an emerging talent, winning many awards (e.g.Fotoactitud, Photoespaña) and showing his work in exhibitions and photo festivals.

Salva is currently working on his project “The Green Curtain”, about the mount Montjuïc in Barcelona. He is also co-editor of the blog “Have a Nice Book” about photography books that he edits with his friend and also photographer Yosigo.

Roig 26 is a project that I have carried
out bit by bit through observation, reflection and from my experience of living
with my grand parents, Marina y José, for five years in their modest apartment
on Roig street, in the Barcelona “Raval” district. An apartment that
has been the stage of their relationship for more than 60 years. A whole life
inside these same walls and these same fears.

With Roig 26 my intention was not to draw a true portrait of their own reality, but rather to recreate one, through what I have experienced with them.


What does your cultural heritage bring to your work?

It is difficult to know which type of cultural heritage has influence my work. Obviously I have my own cultural references, my region, my surroundings, Catalonia, Spain, the Mediterranean and Europe. But in a global world, my influences come also from the United States, through their movies, their music, their literature and particularly through their photography. William Eggleston or Stephen Shore have had an impact on me from the start. 

What difference do see between work created in Europe and in the States?

Ummm… I would say that in the United States a formal approach often predominates along with a more intuitive and visual narrative. I believe that in Europe we perhaps make it more intellectual, we try to find a concept for each photographic work. The ideal work, for me, would that which is visually strong and has an intellectual dimension, that is interesting but not necessarily explicit. In my work, there are days when I wake up as a European and others as an American. Here in Europe we too often “split hairs”.

What is the state of photography in your country (how is photography perceived in the art scene, is there support, are galleries selling, etc.)?
As everybody knows, Spain is going through a massive crisis and the first budget cuts have affected cultural activities. Most grants are gone now, and what is left will not last long. I am not too familiar with galleries so I can’t really say, but one thing is sure, sales have fallen dramatically.
Having said that, I think that Spanish photographers are getting better and we are gradually reaching European levels. People are very motivated and there are more and more groups that support young talented photographers. I know quite well the world of photography books and I can see the progression. Publishing houses are publishing very interesting things and photography books are now making the Top 10 list for best books. Last year for instance, Ricardo Cases with ‘Paloma al aire’ and Julian Barón with ‘CENSURA’ were among the top 10. And it is very likely that Cristina de Middel’s book ‘Afronautas’, will make it this year. 
There is still loads more to do, support and funds are scarce, but luckily and thanks to the Internet it is now much easier to access information and promote your work. The intermediaries who were once indispensable are less so today.

Cynthia Henebry

Most of us think back to our childhoods with an idealized perspective . We remember days of innocence and bliss, days without worry, without responsibilities, backyard fun, favorite candies, and summers that seemed to stretch into infinity.  But in reality, childhood is charged with complexity.  There are periods of loneliness and insecurity, apprehension and terror. Virginia photographer Cynthia Henebry explores that side of childhood with her terrific portraits of children in a Waking State.

Cynthia might be considered somewhat of an expert to explore this terrain:
I was born in Richmond, Virginia in 1973, the first of only
2 children my parents would have together, though I later came to have 7 step
(then ex-step) siblings, and 2 half brothers, whom I still have. They are 6 and
8. 
I have 31 first cousins (44 if
you count their spouses, which I do), and approximately 2 million second
cousins. My husband and I adopted our 2 sons at birth, and we have relationships
with both of their birth families, whom we consider to be our extended family
as well. I don’t think I mentioned my in laws, who are of course my family,
too.

All of which is to say, I have a very large family, and it
is a significant part of my identity.


Cynthia is currently pursuing her MFA in photography at Virginia Commonwealth University and has exhibited in the Virginia and Philadelphia areas.
 Louisiana

Waking State: For whatever series of simple or complex reasons, I don’t remember most of my childhood, and it remains a grand and intriguing mystery to me. I take pictures of other people’s children as well as my own out of a deep curiosity to understand what might have happened to me, and also what happens to the children in my life now. What kinds of tragedies and hurts, but also what kindnesses and inner resiliencies that compensate for the way the world infringes upon us all. 

Easter Sunday
I have never subscribed to the view that children have it easier than we do- that their lives are less complicated, or their emotions any simpler. On the contrary, there is so much about the world that is out of their control, and which they are struggling to understand. At the same time, their availability to the present moment opens them up to beautiful and profound experiences every single day. 
Sophia and the conch shell
 Great grandmother’s tea party
Maggie swings
Into the woods
Consolation
The strawberry farmer’s nephew

 Bedtime

Chain link fence

 Jesse’s arms

 Mother’s braid

 Regina
 Washing the river off
Anna and Eloise

Senior Love Triangle: Photographs by Isadora Kosofsky

Three people—Jeanie, 82, Will, 84, and Adina, 90—are bound together in a relationship, a love triangle of sorts, a three-way connection that they rely on to shield them from the pains of loneliness and the fear of aging. Every day the trio meets near their senior-care facilities (each lives at a different location) to spend their remaining days together. Will picks up Jeanie at her care center, greeting her with a long kiss, and the two head hand-in-hand to collect Adina for whatever the day may bring.

Recently, that includes Isadora Kosofsky, who, after the death of the maternal grandmother who raised her, began to search for catharsis through photography. “Grief following my grandmother’s death unconsciously led me to photograph the lives and relationships of the elderly,” Kosofsky says.

The trio’s relationship clearly challenges cultural norms. Will, describing the trio’s bond to Kosofsky, said, “We live above the law. Not outside the law, but above the law. We are not outlaws.” Will, Jeanie and Adina are connected by more than time and space. “There are many different kinds of love,” Adina told Kosofsky. Their relationship, like all relationships, can be frustrating for all three. Jeanie once confided in Kosofsky that “to share Will is a thorn in your side…A relationship between a man and a woman is private. It’s a couple, not a trio.” But despite Jeanie’s misgivings, she must share Will with Adina and Adina must share Will with her.

Kosofsky met Jeanie, Will and Adina three short years after picking up a camera. “I befriended the group because I recognize a part of me in both Jeanie and Adina. Will, too, is familiar to me… a reflection of men I have known,” she says. “When I share in their lives, I am reminded of my adolescence.”

Kosofsky herself is not that far removed from adolescence. She is 18 years old and is now a documentary photographer based in Los Angeles—finding inspiration from photographers like Jane Evelyn Atwood, who spent years documenting one subject. Kosofsky believes long-term projects offer the opportunity of deeper and more poignant storytelling. In her own projects, it is her goal to “devote myself to living amongst my subjects as an occupant, rather than a visitor.”

“The aged are becoming increasingly hidden and disenfranchised. I noticed that even towards the end of my grandmother’s life, she appeared distant from society,” Kosofsky says. The photographer is currently engaged in photographing a three-part series on aging—a subject about which she is passionate. “I feel that age is a perceived barrier and that we too have once, either literally or figuratively, shared their fear of isolation and their wish for acknowledgement,” she explains. “Even when Jeanie and Adina are not present, Will walks with his right hand straight and open at his side, as if he were waiting for someone to hold on.”

Isadora Kosofsky is a Los Angeles-based documentary photographer. More of her work can be seen here.

Cynthia Morgan Batmanis

Cynthia Morgan Batmanis is a cinematic artist, using the night time hours to create her evocative images.  Cynthia also sets the stage using a home that reflects the past as a back drop for her series, And If I Do.  Using historical and alternative photographic processes, her photographs are a natural progression from her other interests of printing and drawing.  Cynthia received her B.A. and M.A from the University of Texas, Austin. Her work can be seen in exhibitions across the country.

For her project, And If I Do, Cynthia created intimate sizes of Ziatypes on salted gelatin Bergger paper.

As people age they redefine who they are to themselves and others. Redefinition becomes especially difficult when cherished family members are facing debilitating illnesses.Constrained redefinition brings about feelings of sadness and loneliness. Despair ensues and coping skills are tested. I decided to photograph a house built in 1870. 

Old houses evoke my past. The memories of families live there. I work at night and occasionally at sunset using any and all available light. My intent is to show the manifestations of debilitating illness on a family. My focus is on a home, a space devoid of family and a confined space filled with lamentable emotion.

Simone Massera

This is the final post exploring the work of the Fiveleveninetynine Collective of London, the creators of the Broken Train and A Royal Wedding.

London based photographer, Simone Massera, was born in Rome and claims that he once walked from coast to coast in Italy (even though it’s a short distance). Prior to pursuing a career in documentary photography, Simone studied sociology, psychology and communication and spent some time working in marketing and advertising. All of these interests have led to exploring “what it is to be a fucking human being.” He is interested in portraying the subjective perceptions of social issues and looking at how online life affects our psyches. Simone received his BA in Communication Sciences and his MA in Marketing and Brand Management at the Università degli studi di Roma, La Sapienza and an MA in Photojournalism & Documentary Photography, Distinction, London College of Communication. He has exhibited across Europe.

I am not what you see and hear [2011]
Loneliness is not a function of solitude. It’s not about being alone; it’s about feeling alone. Our world is mediated through our individual and always subjective perception of it, giving us the illusion of being the absolute centre of the universe. This makes us feel we are special and unique. With this uniqueness comes a sense of being always lonely. We seek love and acceptance wherever we can find it in order to transcend our loneliness. Filling our lives with online friends and pursuing these kinds of relationships, we often use the superficiality of digital interactions as an anaesthetic against this condition, this existential angst.

I am not what you see and hear is a project about these very connections. The use of the webcam on video chat websites that randomly pair strangers, allowed me to freeze brief moments of waiting and expectation right before the appearance of another new face on the screen. Through the gaze of hundreds of people portrayed on these websites the project aims to give you an imagined access to other selves, in an attempt to provoke reflection and compassion. Looking at these private spaces, these empty rooms, desks and beds, lets you peek into these strangers’ lives, see what they see everyday, imagine their thoughts, their fears and expectations.

This project owes much of its inspiration to the work and truly compassionate vision of life of David Foster Wallace.

Since I believe the experience of a work of art being strongly influenced by the medium we use, I specifically designed the digital output of this project to be viewed on screen.

Critical Mass: Bootsy Holler

Looking at portfolios from Critical Mass 2011…

Los Angeles photographer, Bootsy Holler, is a commercial, editorial and fine art photographer who has been shooting professionally and exhibiting for more than a 15 years. Her portraits of musicians, actors, and people in general are always approached with an intuitive and personal style. It’s her fine art work, that allows her to explore memory, family, and the way we live.

Bootsy submitted a project to Critical Mass where she has found a way to go back in time and participate in her family photographs by photographing herself in similar era clothing and pose, making room for herself in photographs from decades past. The series, Visitor, is a fantasy we would all wish to experience, to pay a visit to those we loved, or wanted to know.

I am the keeper of all my family’s photos, old and new. I grew up in a close-knit family, which was lost to divorce and I knew that the family I yearned for would never happen again until I had my own. As a photographer, I notice that the feeling of loss and disconnect reoccurs in my work and I’ve found that often my images reveal something about family and/or loneliness. And as I grow older, now married with a child, I cherish these family photographs more and more. I’ve often wondered what it might be like to experience the frozen moments in my family photographs and be connected once again to those I love. My project, “Visitor”, has allowed me to step back in time when my perception of the world was innocent and filled with possibility.

My goal with “Visitor” is to reinterpret my intimate family snapshots, explore time, and blur boundaries. I created a look driven by the era of each original photograph, pulling a wardrobe from a collection of clothing that I inherited from my grandmother, who was a seamstress and created many of these garments. Using Photoshop, I’ve placed myself into each world I want to revisit, to connect with family, some of whom I never knew.

In my efforts to be authentic to the original photograph, I’ve matched the format and lens of the original image: some soft grain, brown tones or blown out whites to help stay true to the old, authentic vintage feeling of each picture.

Through the magic of digital photography, I have placed myself into each original image, “shot” at an impossible time of my own creation across generations; as a whole, each is an artifact that lets me connect the family that fell apart. When I reflect on my “visits” with my relatives, I once again feel part of a family history and legacy that is unbroken.

Andres Gonzalez – Somewhere

 

Andres Gonzalez was on a seemingly ideal photo trajectory. He was selected for the PDN 30 class of 2006 and was a 2007-2008 Fulbright Fellow. His clients included Newsweek, Monocle and Time. But not everything was sunny and f16

This series started soon after I left the photo agency I was with about a year and a half ago. They had submitted a series I made in Ukraine to an Italian magazine, and when I translated the text I found that they had rewritten some of my statement to give it a newsy slant. That really made me angry and soon after that I decided to leave the agency. It pretty much amounted to wanting more control over my work and how it was presented. That was the catalyst that pushed me to start putting this project together. The idea of storytelling has always been problematic for me, especially after moving abroad. For a long time I forced myself to tell other people’s stories because thats what journalists are supposed to do. Now I really just want to learn to see through my own eyes, to find my center and find a balance between being intentional and being open to the world. Looking for pictures has always been a form of meditation and I want my work to reflect that. Maybe that’s a bit soft, or perhaps even self-indulgent but thats really what I’m looking for. I love how quiet the world gets when you engage in deep observation. There is a loneliness there and I’m intrigued by that kind of beauty. I guess I want to believe there is room for everything.

SOMEWHERE

The passenger steps out onto the overcast deck and remembers a line. Soft was the sun. The wind to his back, he is facing the stern and an endless trail of thoughts drifting away from him towards the horizon. He wants no words, only to enjoy the delicate anticipation of a moment waiting to reveal itself. What are the limits of language? This is the mind, felt, not spoken. He makes a photograph of a seagull, and does not resist the emotion that brings.

There is a town passing by on the starboard side of the ship, the mind-boggling, awe-inspiring, crazy-making, world of people. He is happy for the distance, but knows that the idea of separation is an illusion. Everything exists according to the laws of nature. There is a core, it seems. The sea turns grey for a moment, the lights from the town slowly dimming, overtaken by fog. He makes another photograph of the fading light, the soft presence of time. The ship begins to slow, ahead a port, another journey.

Andres Gonzalez spends most of his time in Istanbul, Turkey but is spending Fall 2011 teaching at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Portland, Maine.

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