Thursday, February 4, 2010

5 x 5 Submission 29 - Anna Garner

Anna Garner

A San Diego native Anna has made her home in Olympia, WA for the past seven years. Exposed to photography at a young age by her father, an amateur wildlife photographer, Anna’s personal journey with photography started at 16 when she got her first camera. In 2005 Anna graduated from The Evergreen State College with an emphasis in Fine Arts Photography. While at Evergreen Anna discovered a passion for working with studio lighting, and as a result has completed several successful bodies of work within a studio setting. Her current work reflects her natural instinct with this type of lighting, by using flashlights as her exclusive source of light. While Anna is well versed in digital photography her specialty lies in color film and darkroom processing. Anna has exhibited her work in many galleries and public spaces in the Olympia area, and executed her first solo show last spring.

Last April I visited the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC. I went with several family members and was taken aback by my aunts’ fear that when they passed out cards of victims’ names and photos at the entrance we would get one with their grandmother’s surname on it. Before this I had been questioning what my Jewish ancestry meant to me and why I was searching out a faith that my distant relatives had abandoned. I had also for a long time been wrestling with personal belief and with how to find and see God. These questions struck me again as I walked through the museum. I was frightened by the things I saw, and no matter how I tried to forget them I couldn’t. My head was filled with piles of shoes and replicas of incinerators. I was weighed down by a question I had asked many times before. How is there a God when so many horrible things have and do happen? These images and ideas filled my consciousness as I began this current body of work.
The series starts with images of peace and comfort then continues on a journey of falling away from this truth and shelter. As this Force is pulled farther and farther from our reality, it becomes just a shadow. This is also a mirror to how we are often just a shadow of what we could be. God becomes shrouded in mystery, and we try to make sense of it through all the mystical, spiritual, and religious traditions. All of which imply that deep within every person there is some fundamental idea of a Force that underlies the totality of all. Even in our reality where life is fragmented and often painful; where it’s difficult to see the face of a God we are supposed to have faith in, it is yet still there and is only hiding. The series is a representation of how God is cloaked and hidden in our world.

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