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 them and to our anarchic world. As time passes and physical changes are recorded, I also draw on personal experiences and use them as catalysts with which to imprint a point of view. By illuminating scenes of every-day I want my photographs to feel like snapshots, although they aren’t. While looking toward traditional elements of portraiture and still-life, I aim to create a modern interpretation through the scale of the photographs and by 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 or 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 wish to convey my perspective about the meaning of identity, memory and home.
- Ilisa Katz Rissman