The Unreal Director’s Choice winner Angelina Kidd has created a wealth of mysterious and at times unsettling images over the course of her young career. Her wildly imaginative pieces are envisioned and brought to life through several alternative processes, which themselves serve as inspiration.
The use of alternative and historical processes—wet plate collodion, palladium, pinhole/Polaroid and gelatin silver prints, among others—is central to my photography. Not only do these processes tend to produce an antique, timeless effect; they also reflect, through their use and disuse, the passage of time within the art of photography itself.
For Kidd’s latest project, however, she found that these processes did not add anything meaningful to the work. “I don’t think alternative process should be used just for the sake of it. I believe there should be conceptual reasoning.” Creating silhouette images, like her winning image, The Beginning, has proved complex on its own. Printing with palladium proved unnecessary.
For now, I have accepted the idea that creating silhouette photographic narratives is an alternative way of working. This doesn’t mean I have given up on the idea of combining alternative process with silhouette, just that I have no good reason for the marriage at this moment.
Kidd was originally drawn to silhouettes after seeing the work of Kara Walker. “Her subject matter can be dark and I thought it was brilliant that she uses silhouettes for her narratives. The gentleness of the silhouette pulls you in before you are shocked by the theme.” Frustrated with her straight photography, Kidd decided to play around with silhouettes and was pleased to find herself infused with new creativity. Inspired by her own fascination with the afterlife, she created vignettes that tell the story of life after death. “I approach this emotionally difficult subject from a childlike perspective using silhouette imagery to create narratives and fables to provide hope that there is life after life.”
For Kidd, success means staying true to herself while creating work that she finds meaningful and that inspires others. In her own photography, this means remembering her past, which serves to inspire her dream-like work.
There were traumas in my childhood. As a child, I could control my dreams whereas I had no control in my waking life. Dreaming was my salvation and therefore as an adult, I have never turned my back on the power of the dream world. Life is full of sharp edges. I think we all need a bit of the surreal to survive.
The Unreal is on view through December 1, 2012.