ARTIST STATEMENT - PHOTOGRAMS
Karen Amy Finkel Fishof
In my pursuit of impact with the viewer, I push the boundaries of traditional black-and-white photography, I create unique, life-sized photograms. My process unfolds in the darkroom where I meticulously arrange people, objects, and text on photo paper placed on the floor, expose them to light, and develop them through conventional methods. The entire creative process, from the moment of exposure to the revelation of the image in the chemistry, captivates me. The absence of a negative, coupled with the intrigue of watching objects interact with light in the darkroom, makes each step a profound moment of discovery.
These photograms are distinct, resembling paintings, and are born out of a process I consider as drawing with light. Each piece is a deliberate interplay of intention and spontaneous improvisation, challenging contemporary photography norms. They stand as theatrical stills, each with its own unique story.
My artistic inspiration draws from a myriad of sources—interior design, film, music, fashion, social media, current events, personal experiences, and found objects—all of which are collaged into cohesive visual statements.
Figures in my works not only occupy physical space but also convey psychological and spiritual dimensions. These narrative dramas, evoke a story for us to participate in, inviting us into their surreal, fantastic realities. Characters are firmly planted in their own distorted space. Persons and objects serve a double role. Not only are they instruments in imagery, but also declare a statement about the medium, disrupting contemporary photography norms. We are forced to recognize a new aspect of the person or object touching the surface, the form itself.
There is something about facing a replica of a life-sized human, to scale, that prompts personal reflection and bids the question; "What do I see of myself in this?"
There is a presence that remains of the figures, akin to the handprints on the Hollywood "Walk of Fame". You know that the person had physical contact with the paper and therefore carry a tangible presence, emphasizing their material connection with the paper—a departure from conventional photography or portraiture. Not only are the figures actors in a drama, but they are also portraits of the models and reflect their inherent personalities and physical features.
As viewers engage with the work, they become cognizant of the relationship we have with objects. We almost always have an object in our hands, whether it be a phone, pen, cup, remote control, gun, bible, or flowers. We are dependent on them, and they define us.
Recent photograms explore contemporary human issues as I define my identity, confront stereotypes, and navigate the space between the secular and the sacred. The work engages the viewer to explore the definition of photography as well as examine and challenge their pre-existing notions while contemplating the multifaceted layers of the depicted content.
I'm also working on a film, an installation and a sculpture! Stay tuned!