German born New York photographer, Sarah Girner, is the recipient of the 2009 Berenice Abbott Prize for an Emerging Photographer and will be exhibited at the Julia Dean Gallery in Venice Beach this October. The competition was jurored by Tim Wride of the No Strings Foundation and former curator of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Sarah is a recent graduate of the International Center of Documentary Photography and Photojournalism program, after also being educated in Ireland and Germany. The winning portfolio, The Transience of Things, calls our attention to places and objects in flux and transformation.
The Estate Sale marks the final moments of a home: it is the last time the house exists in all its parts with rooms and objects intact in the way the owner intended. The absence of the owners at the sales only makes their presence more felt. Each picture frame, each panel of wallpaper, each decorative lampshade has been selected with utmost care. The people that used to live in these homes continue to define the rooms and objects. Their presence – or lack thereof – is written across the spaces: on each fixture, each glittery dress, each sturdy armchair, and stack of china. The details of a life can be pieced together by means of the objects, which have been left behind. We don’t realize the impermanence of things and it is ironic that the silk plants and prom dressed not only outlast us – they encompass our memories. In these houses I found the remains of family life and an archaeology of loss in which I recognized pieces of myself.
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