Boston born, New York based Eileen Quinlan is a photographer very much involved with the process of making a photograph. She describes herself as a Still-Life photographer, which is apt, but this still doesn’t do her work justice when one considers how light, or rather the properties of light are manipulated through her subject matter, studio lighting, and again through the physical act of photographing. She prefers to use mirrors visual trickery, while also continuing to use film and more traditional techniques, again relating a sense of alchemy to the viewer. The work here is from her Nature Morte show at Miguel Abreu Gallery (NY) in 2010.
“The black-and-white Polaroid film I use produces very fragile negatives [color Polaroids have no negatives] and, despite my best efforts, they always get damaged. For a change, I decided to stress the negatives to the max—even to the point of letting the images fall apart. On a parallel track, I began rephotographing still-life photographs of flowers and other funerary ornaments, which I’d been shooting for years at Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris, and incorporated all these images into my setup.”
“I was looking for a way to get my hand into the work, to make it more personal, more meaningful. Death is a key to this series. I lost many of the older people in my life last year—between the two of us, Cheyney [her husband, the artist Cheyney Thompson] and I lost three grandmothers—and I was feeling very sad. These women were our last link to the early 20th century. Calling my show at Miguel’s Nature Morte and titling all the images after works by artists or writerswho are buried at Père Lachaise—Star on the Forehead, for instance, was the name of a Raymond Roussel play—became a way of mourning.”
The quotes in this post are taken from Steel Stillman’s interview with Quinlan for Art in America. Read the full feature here