Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Spirit Pictures




For those who have been following this blog from the beginning, you may remember a post about Katherine Wolkoff and her silhouette portraits. Katherine has made a practice of alternating between pictures of people and landscapes but what connects them is always the specific physicality of the person or place and the technical virtuosity of the prints.

Katherine’s latest series are photographs of deer beds, and they are both subtle and stunning. (Deer sleep in beds of deep vegetation they press down with their bodies in order to hide from predators. They never lay down in the same bed twice, but the imprints can remain for several days.) What we see in the photographs are swirls of trampled grass, wild flowers, and a shadow outlining the hidden impression of the deer’s body. What we feel is the animal’s spirit, if not something deeper.

I spoke to Katherine for some background on the pictures and she explained that she had made the work on Block Island, following deer trails in the fields until she found the beds. It was an incredibly emotional experience. She chose to make the prints 40 by 50 inches - close to life size - so that the viewer can enter the space more easily and ponder the connection between what is there and what is not.

A number of the photographs can be seen for the first time in the Chisel exhibit curated by Kathy Ryan - part of the forthcoming New York Photo Festival which opens tomorrow.















9 comments:

Kate Hutchinson said...

Hey James,
These are wonderful. I would love to see them live. Such a great idea. It's amazing the random ideas that people come up with that work so well and seem to be so obvious afterwards. Like Amy Stein's Stranded series. Now when I see someone stuck on the side of the road I think "photo op". It's like Diane Arbus' twins or Edward Weston's peppers, they are now part of our visual language. These artists who take on new subjects are really widening the breadth of photography. Deer beds, of course! Why didn't I think of that?! Genius. Thanks for showing these,
Kate.

ken said...

What a beautiful and passionate blog you have. I find it inspiring.
thank you

Barry said...

Oh, these are so beautiful. The images themselves are wonderful. The back story is wonderful. Thanks for introducing them to us!

Alice Olive said...

Stunning. The textures and subtle colours are amazing.

Lydia said...

These are so lovely that tears came to my eyes. We have a small lot behind our house that has three giant Sequoias (85-years-old) on it. We've kept it natural and haven't limbed the lower branches. The tree in the farthest corner has deer beds nested into the heavy lower bough. It's wonderful.

Love your blog very much.

dougphoto said...

fantastic stuff i haven't seen them before thanks for the tip.

Joanna Goddard said...

katherine is such a talent, and i love this idea of deer beds. so sweet and intriguing. thank you for the post!

June said...

I've just found your blog and am reading backwards from outdoor pajams. It is making me VERY happy! I wonder where the whitetails sleep here in Michigan where I live. I have seen places in a cedar bog that they frequent in the winter, but it seemed as if they spent a lot of time there, due to the tufts of hair, the mashed down spots and the dried feces. Now I have a whole new project. . . Deer, where did you sleep last night???

david said...

When I was little i saw a dear bed I was amazed, glad you photographed them so well, they look just how I remmembered.