Kirsten Cunningham – A Lesson in Standing Still
(En presencia de silencio)
October 1-14th 2014: GAFFA Gallery, Sydney, Australia
I met Kirsten through a mutual friend when she was looking for a place to run her photography business and I was managing a co-working space.
As soon as I met Kirsten, I could see her passion for adventure and story-telling.
One day Kirsten announced that she was “leaving and going to Mexico!” – a line I thought only existed in the Simpsons. This obviously gained her several points in my “this chick is rad” book. We kept in touch and during my time as Art Director of lifestyle publication Idh Magazine, Kirsten became our adventure travel writer & photographer and published some beautiful and inspiring articles with us.
Kirsten returns to Australia later this year with her series A Lesson in Standing Still / En presencia de silencio, which recently exhibited in Mexico. This is the result of an artist residency project in Joshua Tree National Park, in southern California. During the project, Kirsten lived and worked with a 4×5 large format field camera in the tradition of ‘Straight Photography’ popular with photographers including Ansell Adams and Imogen Cunningham in 1930’s.
Much of Kirsten’s previous work explores social-documental photography, shooting on the streets quickly and quietly. This body of work is a conscious decision to put down a digital camera and work slowly and manually.
A Lesson in Standing Still / En presencia de silencio is thus the specific exploration of the anti-thesis of Henry Cartier Bresson’s ‘decisive moment’. To not take a photo in the perfect moment, where all of the elements exist perfectly for only a second, and afterwards disappear, is the aim of the project.
Kirsten’s test was to work manually with an antique camera utilizing 4×5 large format analogue photography, far outside of the temporality of digital technology, forcing her to slow down and relearn how to see and perfect the basic elements of an image.
The result is a collection of pictures of an environment unchanged and unmoving for possibly millennia.
Kirsten has participated in artist residencies at the UNSW Arid Research Centre, Broken Hill, at Rancho Paradiso, California and Residencia Gorila in Tulum Mexico. She has been a finalist in the Head On Portrait Prize and COFA Emerging Artist Award.
We are thrilled to welcome Kirsten back home, for however long her itchy adventure feet will allow her, and excited to see this exhibition and other projects she has been working on whilst away.
~ Deb ~