Solo Exhibit of A Crack in the World announced at Krowswork in Oakland

I am happy to share that Krowswork will exhibit my Mariposa work at the gallery, opening November 4, 2016. The body of work, A Crack in the World will be the main feature, with the By Fire Series and a video made in Mariposa also on exhibit.

I am very fortunate to have had Krowswork Director Jasmine Moorhead write an essay for the book, A Crack in the World. Moorhead will moderate a book panel discussion and book signing with me and renowned author Susan Griffin who will sign the re-release of her seminal book, Woman and Nature. on November 5, 2016 at 2:30 PM.

Please join us for this very special event!

Marky Ramone Go Interviews Barbara Kyne for Resource Magazine

At the Museum 35 , Copyright Barbara Kyne, 2014

At the Museum 35, Copyright Barbara Kyne, 2014

Marky Ramone Go: People who are intently observing works of art at the museum might be a great subject for a photo series, but can be utterly redundant if documented repeatedly. This is the reason why Barbara Kyne’s “At the Museum” brings out a fresh and unique concept at seeing art enthusiasts in a different and equally creative way. Out of focus and blurry, viewers are shown with a series of photographs only depicting the contours of the bodies of art connoisseurs as  surreal colors and shapes peppers the background. To learn more about the creative process that went on with the making of “At the Museum” series, Resource Magazine reached out to Barbara Kyne for a short interview.

How did the idea for your series “At the Museum” come about? 

I accompanied my partner to a flower show and started shooting everything out of focus – the plants, the people – probably out of boredom. I had been shooting weddings, so coming up with new and interesting imagery was necessary for my clients and to keep myself interested. Very shallow depth of field was a popular style at the time, so I just pushed it further and made a few completely out of focus. There was something satisfying about those photos and my clients loved them. They evoked Bill Jacobson, Uta Barth and Hiroshi Sugimoto’s out of focus work. Soon after the flower show, I went to SF MOMA and it occurred to me on the spot that going completely out of focus just made sense. The idea of people looking at art is loaded with significance and magic. I asked questions from as early as I can remember about the nature of reality and the laws of the universe. Since I discovered that we are One with everything in the cosmos, I shoot outward to see inward and look inward to understand the Universe. There is no need for me or for the viewer to understand the specific subject matter – the art, the museum or the people in the photos. I emphasize the overlooked, underlying and even what is undetected by our five human senses. I shoot in search of what I haven’t seen before.

How important it is for a photographer to develop the skill of deep observation?

I’m not one to make rules about how photographers should approach their work. At the same time, I’m attracted to photography that is made in deep observation. It’s not just the eyes I’m talking about, but all the senses – a whole body experience. People tell me when I shoot that I often look like I’m dancing and when things are going well, I feel like an athlete “in the zone.” If I want to go past surface appearances, I can’t just look with my eyes. If you don’t develop deep observation, you might not see the distinguishing subtle elements that reveal character – much like an actor deeply observes behavior, facial expression, and body language.

Describe Your Photography Style?

At the Museum 32 , Copyright Barbara Kyne, 2014

At the Museum 32, Copyright Barbara Kyne, 2014

I shoot mostly in color and make “straight” images in that they are created in camera with very little adjustment in Photoshop. The images tend to be abstract or bordering on abstract. I want the viewer’s eyes to travel around the photograph and find their own clues, so dynamic composition is often important. I shoot in any quality of light and being an opportunist, I work with what I find. Serendipity plays a big part in my style. I don’t choose subject matter based on any criteria and don’t start with a concept. I explore with my camera and when I find something that compels me, I work hard over a period of years for the concept to clarify. In that way, the series is an extension of me. I consider the images to be sensory artifacts that offer a conduit through which the viewer can experience unexpected perceptions.

Tell us the process of how you set up each shot in the series.

I rarely set up shots. I respond to what I see as I walk through the exhibits at museums. Sometimes I follow an interesting person through a few rooms. People rarely see that I’m photographing them, and since they’re unrecognizable in the photos, I don’t have any issue with that. Occasionally I will park myself in front of a piece of art and surreptitiously photograph the people who come up to look at it. I shoot digitally and the immediate feedback is useful in these varied environments that I can’t control. I can also work like crazy, not having to worry about stopping and reloading every 36 shots. The digital camera substitutes noise for grain with the high ISO, which looks good in the museum photos.

What are your camera and gear choices?

The Canon 5D MkIII gives me high-quality images in any lighting, and that is very important for the “At the Museum” series. I use the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Lens for an undistorted look. It’s light to carry around and I look less conspicuous when shooting, more like a tourist. I like to compose in camera and it’s simpler to just work with the one prime lens that’s on your camera. I prefer the SanDisk line of CF cards for speed and reliability.

Share with our readers and your followers your next projects.

I’m launching a book to go with my series, “By Fire,” shot during a nighttime bonfire at our country home in Mariposa, CA. It explores personal tragedy as a trial by fire that can metaphorically create expansion and renewed life. I’m working on a color series on the same five acres in Mariposa, using layered dimensions to explore our shared consciousness with all that’s living. I’ve also started working with out-of-focus human figures in sequences that will be presented in video format.

See the full post:

Available Now from Norfolk Press: By Fire, A Photographic Chap Book

By Fire , a photographic chap book, words and poetry     
 /* Style Definitions */
	{mso-style-name:"Table Normal";
	mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
   ©  Barbara Kyne, 2015

By Fire, a photographic chap book, words and poetry © Barbara Kyne, 2015

1991. The Gulf War begins and marks the beginning of an almost constant U.S. presence in the Middle East into the still un-seeable future. Yugoslavia begins a bloody civil war that includes genocide and ultimately breaks into separate Republics. October sees Anita Hill testify before the U.S. Senate to acts of sexual harassment by Supreme Court candidate Clarence Thomas, who is then confirmed to the Court. David Duke, former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard wins a place in the runoff election for Governor of Louisiana.

Locally, the Oakland Hills in California are on fire, killing 25 people and destroying close to 3500 homes. It is a warmer than usual month with the high topping out at 92 degrees this October and I am having a particularly hot and hellish month aside from the fire. Recovering from a traumatic relationship break-up, I have a car accident and mourn the death of one of my best friends from AIDS related causes.

into the fire

into the fire

Then the attack. Three men jump out from behind a fence outside of my apartment and grab me. I think I’m dead, or worse – tortured all night and then dead. I think, “I’m a statistic? It’s all over? This is it?” Then the mace – in my face, my eyes, down my throat and lungs, up my nose, in my mouth and ears. Mace as a weapon is designed to be sprayed from 10 feet away. Just one squirt should deter the usual attacker. I absorb a whole can of it point blank. I feel as I’ve been doused with lighter fluid and set on fire. Mace won’t disable you or render you passive however and I fight them and don’t go down. I make enough noise for a long enough time to attract unwanted attention and off they go. Wow. I don’t know why or what that was. I am going to live… with a good dose of PTSD and a creeping illness that resembles the emerging description of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. My life is irrevocably changed. Who am I now that I can’t get out of bed some days, that I’m not very productive, that I’m in constant physical pain and in a state of anxiety all the time? When I leave the house, I can barely tolerate cleaning fluids, bus exhaust fumes, scents – the Vaseline hand lotion worn by my co-workers! I channel my inquiry and process of recovery through photography.

down to the bone

down to the bone

The series By Fire is shot at our country home over twenty years after this hot month and explores the human experience of tragedy that has often been described as a trial by fire. Although I do not stage these images, I sense archetypal moments emerging in front of me and intently render them. The focus of the images is shallow with the lens barrel focused on the fire, the sparks. The blurred person moves about the fire like the ghost of my 30 year old self protected by an oversized magic coat – unbecoming, disintegrating, down to the bone and returning whole, wiser and stronger. I find that if we move through the metaphorical fire with awareness, we may find that facing mortality creates expansion and renewed life. The images contemplate the ephemeral nature of life and the perseverance of humanity.

as if the earth could not constrain

as if the earth could not constrain

This series is created with a digital camera, though not altered digitally in processing. The instant visual feedback allows me to push past surface appearances and use the optics of the camera to expand vision – showing the unexpected, underlying or overlooked. I consider the images I create to be sensory artifacts that provide a conduit for others to directly experience new perceptions. The photographs are archetypal in that they are simultaneously less and more than their original subject matter and also transcend it. Viewers can project their own experiences onto them and perhaps receive insight for themselves, as some even report to me has happened.

a new generation of stars

a new generation of stars

October isn’t all bad of course. Poland holds their first free election, the Galileo spacecraft probes the first asteroid ever – 951 Gaspra and 1991 marks the end of the fifty-year Cold War with the Soviet Union. And again we go – through the cycles of tragedy, suffering, death and rebirth – endlessly through time. Although my life as I know it ends in 1991 and I experience more tragedy as I surely will again in my life, I shortly thereafter meet my soulmate who brings my life joy and fulfillment, and protects me like the magic coat she wears in these images some twenty years later.

The photographs created for By Fire are also available as a photographic exhibit. Please contact me (barbara at barbarakyne dot com) about exhibiting the work and Norfolk Press about purchasing the book.

By Fire, a Photographic Chap Book of photographs and poetry by Barbara Kyne, 8.75 x 7.25, 32 Pages, $20.00, ISBN 978-0-578-16037-5, Available from Norfolk Press