Seasonal began as a series of meditations on beauty and fear. “Beauty is the mystery of life” is a famous quote by Agnes Martin that inspired me to make digital images combining the most banal and commonplace subjects of flowers and snowflakes. All physical matter has a mysterious shelf life, some long, others short. Everything vanishes at some point like snow and flowers often are part of a passing of life.
Instead of arranging flowers in a vase, I take them apart and use the components to make snowflake designs. There is a reversal of spring to winter by use of these materials and concept. I’ve always been intrigued with snowflakes. Each one is a unique crystalline form, vanishes by melting and presents as pure white. Flowers also enchant me with their formal structures, short lives and amazing assortment of colors. White is the combination of all colors while black is the absence of color. By using my scanner as a camera I capture extraordinary detail and rich color that leaps out in contrast to the black background. Making these works is labor intensive and profoundly meditative. I try to make pictures that capture the spirit of both subjects, embracing elements of design and intention. The final images are a celebration of brief lives incorporating complete beauty.
I’ve been making photographs since my childhood having grown up in a home with a darkroom. The slow roll of the scanner revealing an image composed on the glass is reminiscent of how an image would appear to float to the surface in a developing tray. In later years when the family darkroom vanished in a flood holding decades of memory and experiences well as physical equipment I feared I would never have another way to slow process in a fast digital world. Fear and beauty come in many guises both inevitable in anyone’s life.
My digital work in this posthumous collaboration with my father’s analogue work reflects my relationship to him by constructing imaginary worlds. I traveled a bit with him and inherited his 35 mm slide archive when he passed. He was a darkroom techniques guy whereas I am a point and shoot girl. I loved traveling with him and was happy to take the boxes of his work. Scanning reveals a not so technical person as much is out of focus. This delights me and becomes a meld of painterly approach with collage in Photoshop to create Travelogue. I think Dad would be pleased by this as he referred to my work as taking something and transforming it into another thing. Unsettling points of view become visible by using architecture or landscape in a destabilizing way. Reinterpreting a real world as a dreamscape fits my interest in an alternate reality, similar but different which allows uncertainty and experimentation with elements of design.