These photographs were all taken in small towns or rural areas, where time seems to stand still. People are friendly, approachable and freely tell their stories. As I approached my subject, I would identify myself as an individual who was interested in photographing people in their environments. I would ask them about the town, their business, and themselves. As I was photographing I would tell them what I was doing and why I was taking several photographs. If the camera was on a tripod I would let them look in the viewfinder to show them what I was seeing. Engaging the subject in conversation was what was most important. I was rarely ever turned away.
I often returned to photograph the same areas or the same people. I would bring back photographs from previous shoots to show them what I had done and leave the photographs behind as a gift. The most memorable reaction to my work was when I returned to Favoretta, Florida after several months to give a print to a kind old man whom I had photographed earlier. A little girl stood outside of the house and I showed her the photograph that I had taken of her grandfather. She ran inside and brought out her mother, who was crying when she saw the picture. Her father had died and this was the only photograph that was ever taken of him. I realized then, more than ever before, how powerful a photograph can be and that the most treasured photographs are those that mean something personally to us.
The advice that I would give to my younger self would be to photograph everything, without any concern for whether or not it is art or part of a larger, cohesive body of work. Ultimately every photograph that I have taken has found its place as a piece of a puzzle that has finally taken form after some 45 years of photographing. Work that didn’t interest me, or made no sense at the time, now has a place in the larger picture of my life as an artist.
Thousands of Home and Garden shows take place each year throughout the country selling products promising to improve every facet of the domestic landscape. The objects that populate these expos make visible the security, connectivity, and desire for comfort which is the cornerstone of the domestic space. Displays of opulence, organization, and whimsy jockey for space amongst a grid of colorfully curtained booths. These display booths are fenced off from one another like a bizarre subdivision under the endless roof the convention hall. This series attempts to capture a carefully cultivated domestic bliss in new packaging.
At the age of fourteen my uncle gave me my first camera and I was forever driven to document my world through the lens. It was a magical time in my youth. Years later after having become a professional photographer, I embarked on an in depth collaboration with children and their families between the years of 2005 and 2009 to make photographs that draw upon a carefree, otherworldly, and somewhat tumultuous time.
The body of work that emerged was a hybridization of my adult nostalgia for childhood and the children's imaginative experiences. I sought to harness an idea of childhood where in which surrealistic wonder collides with the reality of adolescence. The series titled, Environs, is an extension of that time of curiosity in my own childhood and an attempt to recapture it. The constructed realities infuse elements of the fantastical into the children’s everyday settings as a means to give the viewer access to those critical moments of self-formation and identity.
My principal subject matter for the past fifteen or so years has been constructed studio still lives. I prefer to gather materials and props and construct on a tabletop or in a studio space an imagined and somewhat theatrical scene. Often the setting of the location or the studio itself will form an integral part of the final “constructed” image. These are always black and white.
I have worked with a large format view camera and film or I produce large digital files using a view camera and a digital sensor back. In the years since these images were produced I have exclusively worked digitally for image capture but still have relied upon the “plastic” manipulations of focus, scale, shape and spatial relationships that the view camera enables. Most images, apart from stitching together of the various component “tiles,” are direct and mostly un-manipulated in digital post-production.
These prints are light jet digital prints produced by exposing the final digital image file onto a “C” type Dye Coupler color photographic paper material. They are, therefore, photographic prints.
In photographically navigating interior public spaces I’m attracted to the generic yet rich quality of detail to be observed. A sort of theatre of the ordinary, there is often a melancholy emptiness, which is easily overlooked. We find clues about our own lives as well as clues to the identity of our region. These spaces which are uninhabited by any people and the ‘cultural artifacts’ which are juxtaposed within, together propose a kind of public mythology that has a Pompeian quality. The ‘recent’ presence (of persons) points to an absence which encourages us to scrutinize and assign new and perhaps more poignant significance to these ‘remnants’.
I want to see what has been left behind in these spaces. I’m interested in how the juxtaposition of objects and their spaces connotes values, belief systems and priorities. I want to see if we can find ourselves in these places or if we find something more peculiar – or more interesting. I’m also interested in creating images that raise questions about our perceptions of our values, our priorities and ourselves.
I am intrigued by how these spaces, in their ordinariness, are arrestingly beautiful and simultaneously strange. I record them because they exist in these ways only momentarily. They are curious and commonplace and invisible.
(M. Laine Wyatt)
I chose the Thai word “pêe saao” (translation “older sister”) for the title of this series to denote respect and to infer the validity of the unique experiences of each woman pictured. Education is often made possible by comparing the similarities and differences of our own life experiences to those of others. The communities and relationships women create cross-culturally play an important role in improving the individual well-being and gender equality internationally. Stressful transitions can be eased through relationships that promote empowerment rather than dissipate it.
For this series, I photographed the women I met and became close to throughout northern Thailand. Some of the women come from communities of privilege, very much like myself, which have allowed them to study and travel freely. Some of the women pictured are Stateless, a nomenclature that essentially sanctions them without identification and as illegal refugees within their own country. Some of the women are Thai Karen, which means they are citizens from ethnic minority hill-tribes who live in close-knit villages with varying access to electricity and water. All the women pictured live or work within a one-hour drive from each other. Some know each other and some do not. Through these relationships, I began to feel at home in an unknown place. I witnessed how a simple friendship can overcome language barriers and cultural differences.
Friendship can create the space for education, conversation, and inspire change.
It is common in Thai to use familial titles as personal pronouns when referring to people you know but have no blood relation to, or even when addressing strangers. I found this metaphoric to the larger concept of a human family; we were all sisters regardless of background. Many of the women had different views about what defines success and beauty, but we were all interested in teaching and learning together.
This Series was compiled from images taken on several visits to the “Olson House” in 2017, and feature exterior, as well as interior details from the House. The Olsen House is a 14-room Colonial farmhouse and is located in Cushing, Maine. Between 1939 and 1968 the house and its occupants, Christina and Alvaro Olson were depicted in numerous paintings and sketches by the American artist Andrew Wyeth, including his 1948 masterpiece, “Christina’s World.” Wyeth was inspired to paint numerous scenes in and around the house after meeting Christina Olson, who had motor disabilities preventing the use of her legs. Wyeth befriended the Olsons and maintained a studio in the house.
The house is a National Historic Landmark and is owned by The Farnsworth Art Museum, located in Rockland, Maine, which also owns and displays a large collection of Wyeth’s works.
(Per Hans Romnes)
This series of photographs reflects an ongoing interest in how the landscape is transformed by human activity. The armature for this work is most readily seen through the documentation of large construction projects such as the Three Gorges Dam in China where I photographed the 400 miles of the Yangtze River valley in 1999 before it was flooded by the reservoir in 2003.
I’ve always thought of the process of making these photographs as collaborations with individuals I do not know – people who unknowingly are involved in the activity of creating unintentional art. I see the sculptural forms functioning as massive land-art or site-specific sculptures that often present miraculous potential for photographic interpretation.
The idea of reconstructing the transformative power of enormous construction projects into something other than what they were intended to be is a fascinating process rooted in a surrealist aesthetic strategy of undermining ‘context’.