Fine Art Photography: Elinor Carucci Lecture at SVA

That Elinor Carucci’s lecture at SVA started early was start of the surprises for the evening.  What came next in the packed, darkened room, was a poised and down to earth approach that was disarming in a way: as we looked through a range of images, Elinor’s calm yet frank sensibility took over.

I’ve liked her work and followed it for years, naturally.  I’m not sure if I was expecting a more dramatized approach since the work can lean towards interior drama, sensuality, and a type of theatricality.

She weaved intimacy with family stories, like how her grandfather called her angrily and demanded to know why he was the only family member not photographed nude (later, she did it: her father held the strobe).  There could be many moments were Dr. Freud-type analysis might be called for, but she presented the work effortlessly and with charm.

I was glad to see that she discussed commercial work, which can be a dirty word for the fine art world.  She said that there were moments of fear, and one assignment required a bit of coaxing, but she approached the work as she would her personal work by using her friends and usually under intimate cirumstances.

I was also surprised that she held a day job of belly-dancing for a number of years before earning a living through photography.  There was a series devoted to her dancing days and nights.  Mentioned also were personal bits, like troubles she experienced with her husband.

I look forward to her show at Sasha Wolf tomorrow.

(Full disclosure: we both presented work at the Look3 Photo Festival this summer).

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