Zaklina Anderson

Zaklina Anderson is a photographer based in London. In her work No one could save me but you Anderson combines double exposures of both the figure and landscapes to explore cultural displacement and the memory of war.

What is your background in photography — how did you get into it and what are your main interests?

My grandmother sold a cow in order to buy a camera for my father. My mother was one of the first female photographers to have her own studio in Serbia. Later, my parents moved to Slovenia, and established themselves as leading printing experts.

I grew up surrounded by photography. I had decided early on that I wanted to be a photographer, and signed up for a Secondary School of Design and Photography at the age of 15. I fell in love with fashion photography, and I still remember seeing Richard Avedon’s photographs for Italian Vogue. As there was no way to continue my studies at home, I moved to Chicago to pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree. I started out as a commercial photographer, but when I moved to Paris to get another diploma, I started photographing nudes, which led to the fine art exhibitions.

I came across your work No one could save me but you at FIX Photo Festival and was immediately drawn in to the work. Can you give a brief outline of the work and where its title came from?

This artistic work is inspired by the political events that ended up in dividing Yugoslavia and resulted in a horrific civil war. It deals with identity, belonging, memory and loss.

I photographed this series after a difficult time in my life, a challenging couple of years. I was looking for a new series to do, but struggled with getting started, so I set myself a goal of doing a triptych, which resulted in a proper series. The mood of the photographs reflects my state of mind at the time. But it also connects with the deeper issue of my history.

The title is from a song I had in my mind when I took a first photo that started the triptych, it was something about a dark and stormy mood that connected the project.

Zaklina Anderson

Zaklina Anderson

You write that the work "explores the displacement and memory of war, portraying a sense of loss and mourning for a space and time now past." I find a real sense of nostalgia and longing in the images that make me pine for a place I've never been to. Can I ask how the use of double exposures came about?

As I started to explore photographing landscapes after focusing on the body for so long, I didn’t quite know how to view my landscapes, which seemed very vast and empty, so I experimented with double exposures to be able to include a figure and be more comfortable with the image. Also, the image of landscape on its own didn’t produce the feeling I always look for, which is a sort of melancholy loneliness. I found that I could achieve that feeling and also create a story within the image by using more then one image, either by double exposure, or collage. I always kept my nudes very subdued, because I wanted them to appear as an afterthought.

Zaklina Anderson

Zaklina Anderson

Zaklina Anderson

When we think of grief we often think of the loss of a person. Can you describe the feelings felt in mourning for a cultural identity, and how does the absence of a country impact on a person’s identity?

It has a great impact on a person. One of the first questions we are often asked is “where are you from?”, and for me that question is impossible to answer. I was not aware of how many of us were actually affected by this collective wound, as I tend to call it, but generations of people became "orphans" because what was their homeland was erased from a map. What used to be one nation with shared values turned into hatred and distrust.

Slovenia used to be part of Yugoslavia, and just as I was coming of age, the system collapsed and the country divided into separate republics. This was traumatic for many because a lot of families were from different parts of the country and were now at war. It was hard watching my parents come to terms with their loss of this identity, as we are defined by the place we grew up in. Now that I'm a parent, I struggle to explain to my children my roots.

What is the significance of the landscapes and figures chosen?

There's a theory in photography that says every photographer always takes the same photograph, over and over again. It is the same here. I’m constantly looking for a certain feeling of empty space and particular light, and my contact sheets look almost exactly the same, spanning over decades!

It might be an innate need to get that one perfect shot that makes us go back to the same place and try to capture its essence.

Zaklina Anderson

Zaklina Anderson

Zaklina Anderson

The work from this series is quite different from those on your website which are primarily nudes. What was it that prompted you to begin working on this project?

This series is a result of a wonderful collaboration I've undertaken with Laura Noble, my mentor. We discussed techniques and artists, which made me look at my own work differently. More importantly, she raised the question of "why?". Why does photography matter to me and what is driving it?

What are you working on next?

My next project is trying to answer a simple but complex question, “Who are you?” I want to look at my family history more closely, because only with passing time have I realized how special my family was and is, and how I continue the family tradition that started more than 50 years ago. When I was growing up, the family stories and anecdotes, always revolving around photography, seemed so banal but now I realize just how special and forward-thinking both my parents were. I want to pay tribute to them and to my aunts and uncles and cousins who were and still are involved in photography.

Mike Kear

Mike Kear is a London based documentary photographer. His practice primarily focuses on work for charities and NGOs both in the UK and worldwide. In his project Surface Tension Mikes reflects on the thoughts and experiences of the suicidal, producing abstract images taken at various sites of suicides along the Thames Bridges.

How did Surface Tension come about? What drew you to exploring suicide?

I was working on a project along the Thames looking at different aspects of the river as it passes through London. Whilst editing I was contemplating some images that looked straight down and how that might be the view of people contemplating suicide by jumping into the Thames. This led me to visiting various sites of suicides along the Thames Bridges. I then realised the shocking statistics of how frequently suicides were attempted on the Thames - often more than one a day! Suicide is the largest cause of death in young men in the UK and there has been very little dialogue on the issue. Organisations like CALM are now doing some amazing work. I am a survivor of three suicide attempts and I wanted to help increase the dialogue on the subject which is something very close to my heart. I have very much moved on from the issues in my life that made suicide seem a viable option for me, I am nonetheless very aware of a fine line that a lot of us tread. Choosing to participate in this interview was more difficult than I had initially thought, but despite the stigma around suicide, I feel it is important to show the very personal side to this work.

Your text is very moving and really transports you into the mind of the person contemplating jumping. I'm curious about what went through your mind as you stood there photographing each spot?

Sometimes I was very sad, other times I was quite scared when fulling engaging in the process, but often there was a certain calmness, somewhat difficult to describe.

Vauxhall Bridge
Tower Bridge

The images are quite hypnotic. What was your motive behind photographing in such an abstract way?

Suicide is such a complex and individual issue. By producing a series of abstract images of the surface of the water, the idea being to enable the viewer to engage with the subject without being too prescriptive; to allow the viewer to consider themselves in the position of the person contemplating suicide and allow them to bring their own thoughts to the issue.

Most of us have looked over the edge of a bridge, down into the water. It maybe whilst watching to see whose stick is the winner whilst playing Poohsticks or enjoying the playfulness of the water. Or it might be more contemplative, watching the allure of the water, possibly even imagining what it might be like to jump with no intention of actually doing so. A less common thought, though, is that of the person who is looking down into the water as they decide to jump to end their life.

With this series I seek to enable an emotional engagement with a very personal and intense issue - the issue of a person feeling their only option is to take their own life. These images are not merely an abstraction, they place the viewer in that very vulnerable position - one of a person in despair. Might it be that the person in despair is actually very similar to you and me?

Vauxhall Bridge

Where are the accompanying texts from?
The texts are from a variety of sources including some interviews I carried out with RNLI lifeboat crew from Kew and Tower lifeboat stations. Others are quotes from family members left behind and some texts are poetry. I was concerned that the poetry might over romanticise the issue, but being interspersed with the other quotes I hope they help with the contemplation of the images and the issues.

Tower Bridge
Blackfriars Bridge

You mention on your website you're working on a new project around suicide. Can you give us an insight into what that is?

This is an ongoing project and I’m continuing the series with other locations around the UK. I bought a camper van this year so I can spend time at different bridges and to connect with the people who look after the bridges and live or work nearby who are often affected by suicides. This work is also incorporating the stories of people who have survived suicide attempts. Alongside this I’m looking at the role and responsibility religion plays with suicide in the UK. Because this is a very emotive subject at this stage it’s probably better I don’t say anything to prejudice the project.

If any of your readers would like to be involved with this work they would be very welcome to get in touch with me.
@mikekear on Instagram.

Dianne Yudelson

Dianne Yudelson is an award winning photographic artist from San Francisco. In her project Lost Yudelson documents the mementos of the children she lost, breaking down the social stigma of miscarriage.

Above: Lost: Bryce

Miscarriage is still very much a taboo subject. What brought you to create Lost?

Last July, after helping a friend through a painful loss I reflected on my own personal experience. These thoughts propelled me to take down the big white box in my closet which safeguards the mementos of my lost babies. It had been quite a while since I last took each item out and as I laid them on my bed I felt their story needed to be documented. I have read the assertion that meaningful art occurs when you share yourself and create from the depths of your soul. So I shared. Hopefully, in sharing the images I can touch the lives of numerous women who have experienced or are in the midst of experiencing the painful loss of a baby. They are not alone in their journey.

Lost: Charlie

What role did your photography play in providing closure or resolution (if any) to these experiences?

When you share a deeply personal experience from your heart and soul, you will find that you touch the viewer of your image on a more profound level. They will identify with the human truth within the message of your piece. It is said that in giving you receive. I have found this to be true, especially when you give from the heart. In helping to heal others emotional pain from pregnancy loss, I have lessened my own.

Lost: Gwendolyn
Lost: Jane

I'm curious about your thoughts as you were making the work. Was it important to emotionally detach or was each session devoted to the individual loss when shooting?

When gathering the mementos for each individual image, I began with a real sense of devotion to that baby. When I stepped behind the camera I worked to maintain a balance of my emotional connections to the mementos and the technical and artistic eye necessary to capture the image.

What was it like to work with and handle such personal and emotionally invested items?

Working with my most private and precious items was humbling. I arranged these items in a manner I felt told the narrative in a humble and pristine fashion in direct correlation to their short and pure lives. When dedicating myself to creating something humble and pristine I decided to produce the images in black and white (white is the color of purity and innocence) using natural late afternoon light– those last bright moments of light before evening begins.

Lost: Jeff
Lost: Mary and Vivian

What personal barriers did you overcome in order to share it?

Personally I found that overcoming the pressures to stay silent about this type of loss is beneficial to a great majority. I believe everyone knows someone who has miscarried, be it mother, wife, sister, friend or coworker they simply have never spoken of it. When experiencing this type of loss other people can, in the hopes of being helpful, make insensitive comments inferring your grief is unreasonable-- so you keep it private and locked away. Never hearing a conversation about miscarriage sets up a social, culture taboo.

Lost: Violet

What do you hope viewers take away from Lost?

I have received emails and messages from around the world from both women and men who have reached out to tell me their experience. What I hope evolves from the creation of my images is a broadening in the conversation and understanding of miscarriage, both physically and emotionally.

I would like to add that just last week there was a woman who spoke to me announcing that although she never suffered a miscarriage she was touched by my images. She said she thought my Lost series was important as it allowed me to document what might have been. I asked her to consider that it allowed me to document what was.

A Tale of Two Fathers

A Tale of Two Fathers, by Julia Horbaschk & Tim Andrews,is the start of a longer term project exploring the themes of loss & memory. In this short film Julia starts to explore her father's suicide whilst Tim remembers a father he never really knew. Julia Horbaschk is a producer, photographer and self-taught film maker specialising in social documentaries, editorial, portrait and travel. Tim Andrews' Over the Hill photographic project has led him to be photographed by over 420 during the last nine years after his diagnosis of parkinson's.

How did you and Tim meet?

Julia: Tim and I met at his Mini Click presentation on 13th July 2013, the day before my birthday at The Green Door Store in Brighton. I went for his talk really as I had just left behind my teaching career after 10 years due to a severe disk prolapse and I was curious about his project Over the Hill and the merging of photography & health. We had a chat after his talk - Alison Palmer was there too and we all exchanged contacts. Shortly after I received an email from Tim asking me if I'd like to photograph him. I said yes immediately and we met up at the Friends Meeting Place cafe on Hove seafront to get to know each other and pick brains for ideas. It's what I like to do before I photograph anyone - I meet them without my camera. You can read further both of our accounts of how we met here and here.

What was the stimulus for making the film?

Julia: The stimulus was to carry on working together creatively after I took Tim's picture for Over the Hill. We had already collaborated on a few short films and wanted to do something a little more comprehensive and meaningful. During a very funny cafe chat at the Bandstand Cafe we looked at all the things we had in common: being silly, stealing in childhood (don't tell anyone!), liking Monty Python, oh and we both lost our fathers when we were young! This seemed to be a topic I never really addressed and wanted to challenge myself with for a long time. I just didn't know how. Tim said he often interviews family and friends about their life and suggested we both write down questions for each other. This is how it started. We then wanted to bring some more artistic elements into the work rather than it just being documentary - not sure how much we succeeded in this but it's a start I suppose!

Has the making of the documentary been cathartic in any way?

Julia: It wasn't intended but I think yes to some extent it was cathargic. It wasn't easy, I had never talked about the suicide of my father publicly up until then and it felt quite vulnerable. I also never made a film so personal to me.
Tim was so bold and frank with his questions - he encouraged me to talk - hiding was no longer an option and I found a certain level of confidence when talking to him. There are hints of me being emotional - a smile from me may actually show my embarrassment rather then suggests that I am laughing. I was/ still am very aware around the stigma of suicide. However, with Tim it didn't matter. I think knowing him really helped me to open up. Tim was never judgemental towards me and my experience, this really made all the difference.

We are both self taught filmmakers, autodidacts and what we produced is quite raw and honest and perhaps not to everyone's taste.

What was cathargic also was the process of making the film, not to worry too much about technicalities or academic approach.
There is value in hearing each other's stories. I come from a culture where "production values" are sometimes dominating the underlying meaning of visual work. I have taken great inspiration from Werner Herzog in this respect and just went with what was there "a straight look". This is not to say I/we don't want to learn more about clever technics or an academic approach but as it stands this is it.

The short film does not tell the full story but it has opened up an avenue for us to explore new ways of working and this is very liberating and exciting!

Tim: Not so much for me but l have seen how much it means to Julia and that has been very gratifying. My feelings about my father are not so painful or unhappy because l never knew him. My life would have been totally different if he had lived but, as it happens, l have had a wonderful life - l have been very happy anyway. l think this is what connects me and Julia, a shared sense of humour and of loss and yet we have survived and enjoyed where we have got to.

I’m curious about what emotions making the film may have brought up. Was it difficult researching into the past?

Julia: Yes and no. As said with Tim it's easy to talk, but then you are always aware of the camera and who might see the film. Will they judge you? What will they think about you? About your opinions, ways to deal with the matter? I started to talk to my sister about it a little but there is still the big crunch point of my mother. She cannot talk about my father at all for various reasons. I hence feel some guilt towards making the film and have not been able to tell her about it. This is very difficult for me. Also there is so little left of my father. Only a few photographs. No one in the family really talks about what happened. There was so much pain, so many other issues: domestic violence, divorce, gambling. Half of the family does not speak to each other any more. Hard to get any truthful facts. I wished I would still have some of the objects he once gave me (a wooden heart) or his passport or see his medical records for example. Just something to work with. That's the hardest the photographs are all I've got. When I found out my uncle had written a book I was half ecstatic, half in agony. The relationship to my uncle broke down at the time my parents divorced. But since the book was available on Amazon I just bought it, every piece of memory to my father is precious. I wished he had written some letters to me!

How do you see the film/project developing?

Julia: I would really like it to continue. There are a few routes we thought about taking this project forward. One is by finding more people who lost their fathers and find out how it impacted on their lives/ what creative ways they may have found to deal with loss/ memory or include them in a continued participatory project. I hope it will encourage people to talk about their stories and although this may be a bit ambitious, I hope it will have a positive impact somewhere somehow helping protect lives from suicide.

The other is personal to me: In 1999/2000, When I was about 23, I produced a large body of work on 35mm slide film following my fathers journey into Europe and travelling mainly by myself. These images were a direct expression of my feelings of loss and seeking stability within myself. They include some long term exposure self-portraits (you can imagine them a bit in the style of Francesca Woodman - just in colour and only I had never heard of her at this time!).

There are over 100 images/ slides taken mainly in Switzerland and Paris. I tried to run through them all once with my lecturer at Brighton Uni but I got so overwhelmed as I could not express why I took these nor find a way to describe/ use/ present them. I was embarrassed about them. I always knew I want come back to them at some point and now 17 years later I may have found the right people to help me look at them again.

I am hoping to find a way to include them perhaps in the Brighton Photo Fringe 2016 or present them in book form. Both Tim and Wendy Pye have offered to help me make sense of the work and I hope their insight and sensitivity to the subject matter will give me confidence and ideas to present a least some of these images to a wider audience.

Manuela Thames

Manuela Thames is a photographer originally from Germany, now living in the US. With a background in nursing and alternative healthcare, Manuela turned to photography after the death of her brother and birth of her son in an attempt to make sense of the contrast of both loss and creation of new life.

You've said that after the death of your brother and the birth of your first son that you gravitated towards photography. What is it about this medium that you love?

I have always loved photography and felt drawn to it, but for most of my life it didn’t really occur to me that I could pursue it as anything more than an idle hobby, partly becuase I did not really have any confidence in my own artistic abilities. But still, I consistently found myself admiring artists, and photographers in particular. I strongly connect with photographs, but I cannot say exactly why.

I found out I was pregnant with my first child only a couple of months after my brother passed away, so obviously that was an intense time. I was in such shock over my brother’s death that I felt incapable of embracing a new life. The words that come to mind about that year are sadness, anxiety, loneliness, extreme nausea, and guilt (especially because I did not feel very excited about the pregnancy). In a way I disappeared for months and withdrew from the world around me, even people closest to me. It was such an interruption of my life that I think deep down something shifted directions, and despite the pain and distress (or because of them), new possibilities were opened up to me, as well as a new urge – indeed a need – to express myself as a way of dealing with all the confusion and tumult.

After my son was born, my husband bought us a DSLR camera because he wanted to take lots of pictures of him. I ended up starting to just take pictures everywhere and of anything. I began studying other photographers and taking self-portraits. The combination of birth and death, grief and joy really changes you and shows you a lot more about life, and I found this was the perfect time to start using photography as a way to explore, ponder, and express some of this.

How do you think your background in nursing and alternative health care plays into your practice as a photographer?

When I decided to become a nurse, I had very idealistic intentions – helping people, being there for your patients, possibly going to a developing country for a while, and so on. But when I was in nursing school, and especially when I started working in a hospital, I found it to be quite different than what I had envisioned – it was mechanized and impersonal, very high stress, and nurses were treated with very low regard which led to a lot of antagonism and power-plays among the nurses themselves and between nurses and doctors. I had a strong sense of not fitting into that environment, which exacerbated the more general sense of not fitting in that I already struggled with. Moreover, I was in the lung cancer ward, and so was frequently confronted with dying, terrible smells, bodily fluids, grieving families, etc., but had no way of dealing with that at an emotional level in such an environment. I can definitely say I cared about my patients a lot, but I cared about them in a way that could not be realized in a fast paced, mechanized, and hostile environment. I think I naturally approached patients holistically, which, after I had moved to America and left nursing behind, led me to become interested in alternative health care. The sense of health that this represents – a kind of “wholeness” that encompasses body, mind, spirit, community, and nature – informs a lot of my photography, including the corresponding sense of “disease” as fragmentation, separation, lostness, and the like.

What was your motive behind producing the work from Broken Mirror?

We had a mirror hanging in our living room that I always wanted to use in my pictures.

I had a vision of an entire series using just a mirror and myself as an object, which then evolved into the idea of using pieces of a broken mirror and playing with the distortions and partial reflections. Before I start photographing, I often have a very clear sense of what I want a picture or series to look like, and then I just need to get it out. In this case, I just took the mirror off my wall and broke it myself so that I could play around with the pieces.

I had been thinking about the way we see different reflections of ourselves throughout the day, not just mirrors but also windows or other surfaces. And each time I am surprised at how different each reflection is and also how different I probably look to others from what I think I look like. This has always brought up the questions of perception, truth, reality, and how a reflection can be really deceptive, even though it’s usually assumed to be true.

Broken Mirror examines themes of identity and the returning gaze of ourselves in the mirror. What kind of research did you undertake around this subject?

I didn't do any “formal” research, in the sense of devoted studies to literature on this subject. However, I have long been drawn to literature of all sorts – fiction, popular articles, essays and biographies, and so on – that explore these kinds of themes of self-perception and distortion.

But I think most of the inspiration simply came from my own thoughts and reflections on this topic, as well as conversations with others.

Where do you draw inspiration from?
I often get inspired when I wonder around in nature. I love the beauty, solitude and quietness. While going for a walk or hike I think about life, relationships, struggles and my thoughts can just wander. Occasionally I then get an idea for a picture or concept. Sometimes it is very clear and I know exactly what I want it to look like, and sometimes it is something I need to pursue and just experiment with.

I also get inspired by poetry, music, film, and most especially by photographers whose work I admire.

What's next for you?

I am currently in the process of working on a new series titled “Milk Bath”. This time it won’t be a self portrait series, but portraits of a variety of people, and they all have to get in a bath tub filled with milk water. I don't want to give too much away, but very broadly speaking this series will explore themes of dependency, equality, and unity.

Fairly recently I began working with musicians and bands and shooting work that they can use for promotions or album covers.

And of course, I am always working on getting my work published, exhibited and expanding my portfolio.

Celine Marchbank

Celine Marchbank is a documentary, editorial & commercial photographer specialising in British based stories, fascinated by the small everyday details of life. Based in London, she spends her time between personal documentary projects, exhibiting work regularly, and undertaking commercial and editorial work. She is also a regular sessional lecturer in documentary photography on the BA (Hons) Digital Photography course at Ravensbourne University in London.

In her project Tulip, Marchbank documents the final year of her mother's life and battle with lung cancer and a brain tumour.

What role did photography play in coming to terms with your mother's death?

I think at first it didn’t feel like it played a part at all. The year she was ill was the most complex year of my life. Whist I was going through that, especially at the start, I didn’t feel like I came to terms with the fact she was dying at all. I struggled to reason with myself why I had introduced a camera to this unbearable situation, but as the weeks went on, and especially after the terminal diagnosis I could see why I had chosen to use photography to remember my mum. These were our last moments together, and in a way I wasn’t experiencing them then. When you care for someone who’s dying, you don’t get the chance or space to really think, you are so in that moment of unbearable shock and numbness that the little things slide. All that was important was mum, but the camera allowed me just a couple of split seconds a day to record the things that would go on to mean so much to me, the little things that would be gone.

I think after her death the photography has helped more, when I look through Tulip now it’s like a time capsule, it takes me right back to that moment, but it’s not an as painful one anymore, the project helped me process the emotions, and all the photography I’ve done since her death has really helped me through the longs years of grieving.

My Mother's favourite flower.

How did your mother feel about being photographed at this sensitive time in her life?

She actively wanted to do the project, we spoke about it lots first, she was actually excited by it. I was her full-time carer, and I think she always felt guilty about how hard it was for me, and in a way this might have been her way of trying to give something back. Though that wasn’t the reason for the project, or the way I saw it as such. She kept saying I will look at it all when I’m better. It kind of gave her something to get better for.

Mum would ask me what I wanted to photograph some days, we would chat about it. Mostly I didn’t know, I don’t like to plan things to photograph, I just like to wait till I spot something that means something or a little moment that might not happen again. I think mum liked this, it meant we just spent lots of time together, chatting and drinking tea in bed. It was nice, I really miss that time.

All mum felt like eating today.

Do you think photography brought you closer together?

In a way yes. We had a very similar taste in art, and I think we did in photography too. She loved my images, and would look at them lots. Though she didn’t want to look at any of the Tulip project until it was finished. I don’t think mum ever came to terms with the fact she was dying, she never spoke about it, but I think her allowing me to photograph her was her way of admitting it was happening. So in that way it brought us closer, and the project itself allowed for us to spend lots of time together, so that was the perhaps the most meaningful part.

My Mum has the most amazing blue eyes.

As her mobility declines Mum stays in her room more and more. Her windowsill becomes a substitute for the garden.

The use of flowers as a metaphor for both life and death is very poignant. Is this something you were aware of at the beginning or something that became apparent as the project developed?

It was not something I was straight away aware of. I photographed everything in the house repetitively, not always realising why, I just had this need to record it all. It wasn’t until later on when I started to show the work to other photographers that they started pointing out all the repetition of things and how together they told a story. Flowers were so important to mum, she had new ones every other day. I started to see them then as such a metaphor of what was happening, and then couldn’t stop photographing them.

The garden chairs she never got to use.
Mum insists the hallway light is kept on all night. When she’s in hospital my brother turns it off, and it reminds me of what it might be like without her.

Tell us a little bit about Tulip, the book, and how people can support it coming to fruition.

Tulip, the book, is a very personal story, but since making the project public it’s the response I’ve received that has made me want to publish the book. So many people have been through the same thing, and it’s nice to think the story can be seen by more people.

The book will be published by Dewi Lewis, but only if I can raise enough of the funding with my Kickstarter campaign. I’ve been so touched by how the campaign has been received so far. So many kind and generous people have backed the project. We are over 85% of the way there, but need to hit 100% for the book to happen.

If you would like to be involved in the success of this book, then please take a look at the campaign and also please share around with people. The deadline is this Friday 13th at 3pm. I would love as many people as possible to support the project.

Mum never really asks for help, in fact she refuses it. She was determined to do as much for herself as possible, and never lets on how hard it is for her.
I worry looking at her empty bed, will she ever return from the hospice.

I imagine there a lot of images that didn't make it into the book. What was the editing process like?

There are thousands of images that didn’t make the book. I started editing the project just a few weeks after my mum’s death, it was a cathartic experience, but sometimes very hard, especially looking at the images of my mum in pain. I decided that was not the type of book I wanted to make, there was no need to see these images, that was not what I wanted to remember my mum by and they were not representative of her life. I wanted the beautiful moments we had shared, along with the very distinctive things she had to be the focus, that was what made her her.

Last night we were told Mum only has a week to live. Today I looked at the tomatoes we planted together and wondered will she ever see them ripen?

What are you working on now?

I’m actually working on another project about my mother. She was a well-known chef, and one of the things we did when she was ill was teach me her recipes. After she died and started to clear out her house I found a whole load of her recipes and old menus from her numerous restaurants.

I’m doing a book that is a mixture of me retracing her life, along with learning her recipes and cooking her food. I think the food will flow through the book in a similar way the flowers did in Tulip.

I’ve spent the last 5 years working on it, whilst I suffered through grief, so the book will reflect my journey through grief also, showing my moods, emotions and feelings through these hard past years.

I have thousands of images again, but have not started to edit it yet. I’m looking forward to dedicating sometime to do this soon, and hope to have the book ready to publish next year.

You can support Celine's Kickstarter to publish Tulip here.

Lynné Bowman Cravens

Lynné Bowman Cravens is a fine art photographer working in an interdisciplinary method. Cravens’ artwork focuses on her experiences of frustration, longing, and denied desires. She works primarily with photography; however utilizes other disciplines to convey her ideas. Through manipulating photographic objects, Cravens turns something that is reproducible into something unique. Through these manipulations she creates pieces that interpret her experiences and present them to her viewers.

Physicality is a huge part of your practice. What is it that draws you into working with objects such as origami and books?

I grew up learning drawing, painting, and sculpture from my mother, who is an accomplished artist. I think the tactile nature of doing these art forms with my hands has remained of interest to me throughout the years. I am definitely drawn to unique objects and am interested in the photographic print as an object itself. The process of physically manipulating a piece and the decision to do so is usually linked with the concepts behind the piece. In the series Self-Portrait Origami Tessellations, the photographic prints themselves are folded in order to distort the faces. The folding represents how I resolve the internal conflict of my negative emotions in order to present myself as capable. Physically folding the pieces takes time, which allows for meditation on the work and where it is coming from.

How did you first discover origami?

I was first introduced to origami in the 5th grade. That year, each grade was assigned a different country and spent the whole year researching the history and culture of that place. Our class had Japan. We learned about the food, history, and arts. I remember making printed curtains for the classroom using tie-dye, fish, and ink. Needless to say I was extremely drawn to learning about origami. We only learned how to make origami paper cranes that year, however I have independently done my own research since then learning more about the history and art of origami.

For your origami tessellations you mention, “the act of folding the images of my incensed faces into beautiful paper objects is representative of how I suppress these undesirable emotions behind a persona that is confident and competent.” Is there a therapeutic process that is intrinsically linked to the folding, or is it the final origami piece that becomes transformative in its emotional representation?

I think that the final pieces in the series Self-Portrait Origami Tessellations are physical representations of how I was feeling at the time. During this time I was struggling with family issues while beginning my time in graduate school. I was torn between the turmoil I felt because of my personal issues and the professionalism I was expected to portray in my new environment. Neither one felt right. The way I was trying to deal with the situation made me feel even less like myself. This series visually represents how I felt during this time. However I do feel that making the work helped me understand how to manage the different aspects of myself better, but it also influenced the current direction of my work.

Self-Portrait Origami Tessellations

In 1,000 Paper Cranes for Bruce Bowman you explore the relationship with your father and his diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. What role did photography play in coping with this situation, and what do the photographs continue to do since the passing of your father?

The process of making this series is very intricate for me, for a number of reasons. I think it begins back with my own cancer diagnosis and treatment in 2005. During my treatment, I felt that my actions contributed to my recovery since it was my body. However after my father’s diagnosis in 2009, I felt that there was nothing I could do. At the time, my work revolved around memory and close relationships. It seemed like the logical conclusion to begin making some work about the situation. I started by folding the paper cranes and photographing them in our personal spaces. I wasn’t really sure of what I was doing, but doing something made me feel like I was contributing to his experience in a positive way.

My father has always been really supportive of my photographic career. He was a hobbyist photographer himself, so it was a good way for us to connect. I felt that continuing to work was the only productive thing I could do. As we got closer to the last days of his life, I couldn’t help but document them. As painful as those memories are, they are important ones. I think the hardest part of this process was photographing during the funeral. I know my father wouldn’t have expected anything less, but I didn’t want it to come across as disrespectful.

1,000 Paper Cranes for Bruce Bowman

I think photographing during his treatment and funeral was a way for me to internalize what was happening. I continued to work on the series after his death, flushing out the images of the paper cranes. I began to pair journal style text with each of these images to connect a time and memory to the space. The series now helps me to remember not only his death, but also our time before.

Is there a specific reason why you choose to often preserve works in books as opposed to collections of prints? For example with Our Worst Years.

I am fairly new to the world of handmade artists’ books. They differ from photo books in that they are unique because of being handmade, are often one-of-a-kind or made in small editions, and are not limited to photography. I personally enjoy viewing artists’ books because, as a viewer I am allowed to touch the art. I get to possess the piece while it is in my hands. The relationship between viewer and piece becomes an intimate one.

The artist books that I have made will only be shown in their book form. The content was paired with the form of a book for conceptual reasons. In the book Our Worst Years, I utilize the format of the book to tell the story of my cancer treatment and my father’s cancer treatment. I appropriated family photos for this piece. I took very few of the images in the book; many were taken by my mother using disposable cameras. I wanted the images to have a familiar or vernacular feel to them. I also wanted to connect our individual stories through sequence, text, and format. An artist book seemed the most appropriate format based on the form and the intimacy of the subject matter.

Our Worst Years

There are some very intriguing photographs of hair and eyes in your MFA exhibition. Could you talk a little about this work and how the exhibition came together?

My MFA Exhibition is definitely the most ambitious and involved thing I have ever done. When I began graduate school, I knew I would have to produce a solo exhibition. This was quite terrifying, since I was making relatively small work at the time. I was also unsure of what the show would look like since I began making individual pieces, rather then full photographic series. I eventually began to see links in the pieces I had created, and focused on creating new pieces that would work with the overall theme of the exhibition. I titled the exhibition Vessel. The work in the exhibition is autobiographical in nature. Each piece in the show explores identity through the body.

The series Hair and the piece Scrutinize are some of the newer works I made for the exhibition. I used my body in both of these pieces in order to address different aspects of my experiences. For the series Hair, I wanted to make a set of formal studies of my hair. My hair has always been one of my distinct physical features, and I have formulated my personal identity around its unique qualities. This series was created by placing my hair onto a flatbed scanner in order to capture the details at a high resolution. These high-resolution scans enlarge the individual strands of hair, making the details and imperfections more evident. The work shows my acceptance of my hair, but also it’s progression. After loosing my hair during my cancer treatment, I had to rediscover who I was without it. Hair references the time and changes since my cancer treatment, but it also remembers the period of time when I did not have it. It is representative of how much I have grown and changed since that time.


Scrutinize was the first new piece I started making for the exhibition, and was the last one I completed. It is definitely the most complicated piece I have made to date. It is a large fabric wall hanging that measures approximately eight feet tall by six feet wide. The surface of Scrutinize was created by folding the fabric into an origami pattern, similar to the process seen in the series Self-Portrait Origami Tessellations. The surface of the piece is covered with thousands of images of my eyes, confronting and staring at the viewer. Scrutinize addresses the anxiety I feel to continually fit into stereotypical female roles. I am constantly confronted by these roles and questioned about how I fit into them. My own feelings make me analyze expectations society has of me, but I also question my reluctance to conform to them. Through the use of my own eyes, I examine my expectations for myself; but also for the women around me.


What are you working on next?
The toughest question of all. My MFA Exhibition was such a large undertaking and encompassed much of the work I started in graduate school, that it has taken me awhile to figure out what I want to work on next. There are some ideas and projects I began and never followed through on that I want to finish exploring. I am also continuing my work with flatbed scanners that I started with my Hair series. I am intrigued by the amount of detail the scanner can capture and the length of time it takes to make a complete scan. I have been playing with this long exposure to create surreal and abstracted images. I am not sure where this work is headed, but I am excited about the potential of the images so far. I am also continuing experimentation with alternative photographic processes. The method of making unique objects from a photographic process interests me and aligns with my methodology. I enjoy finding ways to combine these historic processes with new technologies.