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?
For years I have been actively photographing the people and environments around me as a way to make better sense of my connection to them and to our anarchic world. As time passes and physical changes are recorded I draw on personal memories and experiences, using them as a catalyst with which to imprint a point of view. By illuminating scenes of the everyday I want my photographs to feel as if they are snapshots, although they aren't. While I look toward the formal elements of portraiture and still life painting as initial inspiration, I am also attracted to exploring those subtleties that lie beneath the surface. Contradictions are everywhere: an innocent glance or the fractured quality of light coming in through a kitchen window may convey a deeper psychology and narrative. But rather than draw conclusions or be overly didactic I try and work intuitively, focusing on what's unique about each individual while using the intimacy of photography to capture emotional connections.
Using a large-format analog camera demands a wonderful connectedness that slows things down, enabling me to create moments of openness and vulnerability on both sides of the camera. And since my approach is similar regardless of what I'm shooting, I feel the work can be threaded together and viewed like pages of a book or the frames of a film.
As a woman at a particular juncture in time, I hope to convey my perspective about the exploration of identity, memory and home.
- Ilisa Katz Rissman