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 people and environments around me as a way to make sense of my connection to our anarchic world. By illuminating scenes of the everyday I want my photographs to feel like snapshots, although they aren’t. As time passes and physical changes are recorded, I will also draw on memories and experiences and use them as catalysts with which to imprint a point of view. While looking toward traditional elements of portraiture and still life, I aim to create a modern interpretation, as I am also attracted to exploring 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. However, 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 subject I'm shooting, I hope the work can be threaded together and viewed like pages of a book or frames of a film.
As a woman at a particular juncture in time, I aim to convey my perspective about the meaning of identity, memory and home.
- Ilisa Katz Rissman