Allusions to Poems by Japanese Women of the 7th—20th Centuries
In a used book store in Princeton, New Jersey, I discovered a volume of poems translated by Kenneth Rexroth and Ikuko Atsumi in 1977. The poems were by Japanese women from the 7th through the 20th centuries and represent all the major styles during this period—from the Classical to Contemporary schools. I was immediately drawn to the poems, and as I read them—so allusive and rich in imagery—I knew that I wanted to make their photographic equivalents.
What I didn’t know then was that I would also want to create my own versions of the poems that could accompany my images. With the help of translators Hitomi Sugiura and Frederick Kotas, who found the originals and gave me literal translations, I composed my own English versions of the poems. The calligraphy on each image, representing the name of the poet, is by Richard Man.
Floating World refers to the conception of a world as evanescent, impermanent, of fleeting beauty and divorced from the responsibilities of the mundane, everyday world. For the poets in this volume that world centered on love—longing for love and the beloved, mourning lost love, pondering its mystery. The beauty of the natural world—its flowers, landscape, the moon, and the changing seasons—serves as the primary metaphor.
This series is available in two sizes and is printed using archival Epson Ultrachrome pigment inks on uncoated Kozo (mulberry) paper handmade in Japan.
A book of this work was published by Hudson Hills Press, NYC, in December 2012 and is available from Verve Gallery, Santa Fe, 505.982.5009.
People tend to look at photographs too quickly, superficially. They make assumptions of familiarity. I want to slow the viewer down to appreciate in more detail the beauty of the natural world. We see the world in pieces and put it together in our imaginations— a new reality. Each time we look, the fragments reconstitute themselves with subtle differences, a second look nuanced with small changes. In this series, the spaces between the image sections, like the leading in a stained glass window, become an integral part of the composition.
I have printed these photographs with one of the oldest photographic materials— platinum—for its extravagantly long tonal range, depth, and permanence. The warm black, grey, and brown tones of the photographs further abstract the image, making it still easier to reconfigure the pieces and imagine the whole. My subject matter, as always, comes mostly from my own garden— I can wander out of my garage darkroom directly into my garden to sit among the roses, peonies, grasses, dogwood, rhododendrons, and iris while waiting for a fifteen minute platinum exposure— a meditation that is reassuring and inspiring.
The embossed design at the lower right of each photograph combines an image of the camera lens diaphragm and a flower blossom.
Fetterman Gallery, Santa Monica, CA, United States
Galerie BMG, Woodstock, NY, United States
Iris Gallery, Boston, MA, United States
Modernbook Gallery, San Francisco, CA, United States
Verve Gallery, Santa Fe, NM, United States
Brigitte Carnochan’s photographs are represented nationally and collected globally. She has had solo exhibitions in Riga, Latvia, Brescia, Italy and Valparaiso, Chile as well as in New York, Houston, Boston, Los Angeles, Santa Fe, Carmel and San Francisco. A book of her recent series, Floating World, has just been published by Hudson Hills Press. A Trade Edition as well as a Limited Edition are available from her galleries. Imagining Then: A Family Story, 1941-47 was published by the Center for Photographic Art in Carmel to accompany the exhibition May-June 2012.In addition, two monographs of her work were previously published in 2006: Bella Figura: Painted Photographs by Brigitte Carnochan by Modernbook Editions and The Shining Path, a limited edition monograph with eleven original gelatin silver photographs, by 21st Publications. A Hasselblad Master Photographer in 2003, Carnochan has been featured on the covers of Lenswork, Camera Arts and Silvershotz magazines and also in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, AfterCapture, Black & White US & UK, Color, Hasselblad, View Camera, Polaroid, Fotoritim, Rangefinder and Zoom, among others.
She regularly teaches through Stanford’s Continuing Studies. More information available: brigittecarnochan.com.
Click on any of the thumbnail images to launch the viewer. You can then navigate forward and backward within the portfolio by clicking the left or right side of the enlarged image. Click the add to collection checkbox to automatically add an image to your collection. Image tags or search engine keywords appear below the collections' checkbox and each word or phrase is a link to potentially more image matches.