About A Crack in the World

A Crack in the World is located on five acres in Mariposa, California in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. I combine my human vision with the optical limitations I place on the camera, creating a “camera-being” with a different plane of focus that acts as a species with its own visual perception. My intention is to offer a conduit to an expanded natural world through these sensory artifacts to allow the viewer to see in a different way that is not a human-centered perspective of the universe, to engender empathy for the other biological beings on the planet.

In creating my images, I imagine peering through and stepping into the depth of the layers, into other dimensions via “a crack in the world.” In this world, the sentience of all living entities and our shared consciousness jumps out at me. Orbs pop, and streaks of light dance through the dimensions of land and sky. Perception shifts as the small becomes outsize and the distant alive. I liken the blur in the images to sub-atomic particles made visible, representing the possibilities in what is unimagined, often overlooked, underlying, and even undetected by our five human senses.

We have ended a five-year drought and approximately 50% of the trees in Mariposa have died in the past few years. Government scientists inform us that we will ultimately lose 90 percent of our mature trees. I have made impressions of the trees and other plant life throughout the seasons, starting when I first visited this land around the beginning of the drought. Thus the series that began as a fine art project has also become a documentary work.

We are on the precipice of a possible sixth extinction of life on earth. I believe that a lack of empathy for the other – people, plants and animals – is in large part the cause of it. With global warming and nuclear war looming, we need to find solutions for saving the planet. Empathy for each other and the natural world, rather than dominance and greed, could be the imperative first step.


About At the Museum

The artist’s imagination of reality is drawn from the void of the unknowable. When we engage with art, we are engaging in the mystery. While the place in which we most often go to view these works—inevitably architectural boxes made of solid walls—hedge this effect, clues are present.

I reimagine the visitor using the art as a portal, a liminal opening to another dimension from within the museum. I wish to show the museum as a place to encounter the universal mind.

An elderly man in a cap intensely studies a glowing rectangle inside a glowing frame. It feels as if he might get sucked in. A man in a very pale, variously pastel room contemplates an artwork that is out of the frame while a shadowy figure lurks nearby. A security guard watches visitors pass through a red tunnel towards a greenish yellow light, making sure they don’t stray off course.

In this body of work the unfocused, abstract images are rich in color, shape, light and energy. By avoiding detail in shooting the images out of focus, I hope the viewer of my photos can also experience a portal to another dimension, creating a meta moment of the original but also by simulating this very engagement aesthetically and intellectually. My hope is that the resulting images serve as a sensory conduit for the viewer, much like a song encourages the body to sway to the rhythm or a story helps us to empathize with the humanity of the other.

Ultimately I’m looking at this relationship between art and viewer in order to uncover what’s beyond the surface and at the essence of our relationship to the unknown. My method in photographing is an intuitive practice in that I explore an idea or a question, rather than illustrating a preconceived thesis. What becomes illuminated is that we are connected in consciousness and therefore empathy for each other is common sense.

This series is for me the visual representation of this empathy that occurs when we do connect with the unknown in a creative and curious way.


The series By Fire examines the human experiences of tragedy or immense difficulty that have often been described as a trial by fire. If we move through the metaphorical fire with awareness, we may find that facing mortality creates expansion and renewed life.

In all three bodies of work, the images are simultaneously less and more than their original subject matter and also transcend it. 

All images were created in camera and processed only with the usual color and curves adjustments in Photoshop.

Barbara Kyne, 2017