Thursday, May 10, 2012


Kristy Carpenter
2nd Year MFA Candidate '12
from Bronson, MI 

Name 5 working themes or ideas present in your work?
1. Storytelling
2. Connection to place
3. Family traditions
4. Shared experiences/memories
5. Re-structuring the family album

Why the medium of photography?
I was initially drawn to the element of truth in a photograph, though that in itself is highly debatable. Even so, I still view the photograph as proof of something, even if it's only a constructed or staged idea, it did exist in some form. A lot of my work is also about this act of recording and gathering something tangible to hang on to, so the photograph as an object works in that way for me. Though I take photographs, rarely do I think about them as singular images as I tend to gravitate towards the book form. Thinking about approaching a project this way, I'm more focused on what all these ideas add up to, what story they're telling in the end.
What other photographers/artists are you looking at?
As I'm starting to work more with incorporating existing family snapshots into my work, I've been looking at a lot of collections of found, vernacular photographs, where the initial artist or photographer is unknown. One photographer I do find myself going back to a lot is Rinko Kawauchi. I love how poetic and simple her images can be and the relationships she draws between seemingly disparate things. I have also been looking at Chris Verene's book, Family, which reads as a very genuine look at his family, tinged at times with both humor and slight embarrassment that I feel comes with photographing people you share such a personal connection with.

What is next for you? Any upcoming exhibitions/reviews?
I just sent an image off that will be shown in June at the Detroit Center for Contemporary Photography's exhibition, Change of Pace. Images from my series about my father, Since We've Spoken, will be part of an exhibition this summer at the Guernsey Photography Festival in the UK. And at the end of May, I'll be headed to Review Santa Fe, which I'm both excited about, and more than a bit nervous.

Current Project:

Home (ongoing project)
These images are part of an ongoing series exploring concepts of home, my connection to that place, family memories revisited, and the relationship between my mother and myself. Sprung from a need to document, a compulsion to capture some visual record, I started photographing my visits home. In the beginning I was trying to stop time, to preserve all traces of old memories, both good and bad. This summer that changed, I stopped looking to the past, and I began focusing on the daily lives of my mother and myself and our interactions. While our activities were rooted in the present, there was also this connection to particular past family traditions and childhood experiences. Revisiting these memories and reflecting on my evolving relationship with my mother, this body of work is a way of exploring ideas about connection, both to family and to home.

 To see more of Kristy Carpenter's work visit her website.