Looking back is never easy. What do we choose to memorialize and what do we choose to forget? Is memory ever a true representation of an event or rather an interpretation we impose on the past based on our wishes, disappointments, hopes and regrets?
I have been actively photographing the people and environments around me for years as a way to make better sense of my connection to them, and to our anarchic world. Contradictions are everywhere. I often find the essence of the photograph lies not with what you can see in it, but what you cannot. And while focusing on capturing quotidian moments, there may also be a deeper psychology behind a certain glance or quality of light. Although I am documenting and recording, I will - in equal measure - imprint a particular point of view and suggest a narrative. But rather than draw conclusions or be overly didactic, I try and work intuitively -- encouraging the viewer to bring his/her own emotions and experiences. Since my approach is similar with all my subjects, the work can be threaded together and viewed like pages of a book or frames of a film.
My use of a large-format analog camera is a deliberate tool, and this confrontational way of working enables me to create moments of tension and vulnerability. This process also helps me avoid dealing directly with difficult life events, and instead has provided a way of channeling those feelings into the photographs. Although I will draw on elements of traditional portraiture, I aim to create a more modern interpretation. Scale is important, and often a detail I was unable to see during the shoot reveals itself in the print.
Looking out from my perspective as a woman at a particular juncture in time, I am exploring the meaning of identity, memory and home.
- Ilisa Katz Rissman