Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Julie Blackmon (born 1966) is an american photographer

Julie Blackmon (born 1966 in Springfield, Missouri) is a photographer who lives and works in Missouri. Blackmon's photographs are inspired by her experience of growing up in a large family, her current role as both mother and photographer, and the timelessness of family dynamics. As the oldest of nine children and mother to three, Blackmon uses her own family members and household to "move beyond the documentary to explore the fantastic elements of our everyday lives."
Blackmon studied art at Missouri State University where she became interested in photography and the work of photographers such as Sally Mann and Keith Carter. Drawing extensively on her personal experiences and relationships, Blackmon adds an element of humor and fantasy to create works that touch on both the everyday and the fictitious.
Mind Games, Blackmon’s first major body of work, explores childhood play through a series of black and white images that deal with the external objects and internal imagination through which play is derived. In 2004, the series won her honorable mention in Project Competition  hosted by the Santa Fe Center for Photography and a merit award from the Society of Contemporary Photography in Kansas City, MO.
Following Mind Games, Blackmon switched to color film and began using digital technologies to intensify the hue of her photographs, as well as collage elements from multiple shots into one image. The resulting photographs of family life appear at once disorderly and playful, and at times impossible. Blackmon says that the images in her series Domestic Vacations recall the tableaux of 17th century Dutch and Flemish painters, notably the chaotic familial scenes of Jan Steen. Tailored environments and carefully placed props are often a feature of her work.Blackmon is represented by the Robert Mann gallery in New York, among others. Her work has been shown in numerous exhibitions and can be found in the permanent collections of the George Eastman House, Rochester, NY; the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; and the Photographic Center Northwest, Seattle, WA. Blackmon’s photographs have also appeared in the pages of Time, The New Yorker, and Oxford American.
In 2008, a monograph of Blackmon's work was published under the title « Domestic Vacations ».

« The Dutch proverb “a Jan Steen household” originated in the 17th century and is used today to refer to a home in disarray, full of rowdy children and boisterous family gatherings.  The paintings of Steen, along with those of other Dutch and Flemish genre painters, helped inspire this body of work.  I am the oldest of nine children and now the mother of three.  As Steen’s personal narratives of family life depicted nearly 400 yrs. ago, the conflation of art and life is an area I have explored in photographing the everyday life of my family and the lives of my sisters and their families at home.  These images are both fictional and auto-biographical, and reflect not only our lives today and as children growing up in a large family, but also move beyond the documentary to explore the fantastic elements of our everyday lives, both imagined and real.
The stress, the chaos, and the need to simultaneously escape and connect are issue that I investigate in this body of work.  We live in a culture where we are both “child centered” and “self-obsessed.”  The struggle between living in the moment versus escaping to another reality is intense since these two opposites strive to dominate.  Caught in the swirl of soccer practices, play dates, work, and trying to find our way in our “make-over” culture, we must still create the space to find ourselves.  The expectations of family life have never been more at odds with each other.  These issues, as well as the relationship between the domestic landscape of the past and present, are issues I have explored in these photographs.  I believe there are moments that can be found throughout any given day that bring sanctuary.  It is in finding these moments amidst the stress of the everyday that my life as a mother parallels my work as an artist, and where the dynamics of family life throughout time seem remarkably unchanged.  As an artist and as a mother, I believe life’s most poignant moments come from the ability to fuse fantasy and reality:  to see the mythic amidst the chaos. » Julie Blackmon

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