Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Rebecca Villarreal reviews Rachel Verhaaren

Rachel Verhaaren was a photographer I stumbled on by chance with the assistance of Larry and Google. I asked Larry what he knew of making Mylar negatives, because I was interested in some of the ways I might be able to incorporate them into my darkroom knowledge. He thus informed me to Google cliché verra and in doing so I found Rachel Verhaaren, who had done a few of these prints, which turned out to be one of a few alternative processes that she is well practiced in. Her alternative process photos are amazing to look at, as well as her some of her photos that are not necessarily alternative process. She’s from Long Island originally and now lives in Baltimore; she went to school at the Maryland Institute College of Art and has a BFA in Photography.

Her photos are interesting to look at in subject matter to, most of her work is centered around lenses, though not just the camera lens. In some of her work she takes people’s glasses and focuses the lens through the glasses and the area around them. They are fascinating images because in some the area the lens is looking through the glasses is crisp and clear and in other’s its not quite focused or it’s a strange angle. In a similar project she took a magnifying glass and asked her models what parts of their bodies they were the most self conscience or unhappy with. She then magnified the area and focused the lens on the image that the magnifying glass made. In most of the photos the area that was viewed was completely obscured so much so that as least to me the body part was no longer something to be self conscience about any more. Her idea basically brought down to the simple idea of making this body part we want to hide and conceal into such a big thing that it no longer can be recognized enough to make a person feel uncomfortable.

I like her work and ideas not only because they seem to be conceptually sound, but also more because she doesn't stick to one technique and she still keeps herself immersed in the dark room, where so many tend to leave it behind.

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