Photographer and educator Ann Mitchell is finishing up year long sabbatical that has taken her work in a new direction. The time off from teaching allowed her to explore new ways of working and she has produced a brand new project of constructed images that are wonderfully surreal, psychological, and exquisitely crafted. Ann considers herself an “urban archaeologist, attempting to find the poetry in the everyday experience of our interior and exterior landscapes.” Her work is currently on display at the PYO Gallery in Los Angeles in an exhibition curated by Sarah Lee that runs through July 27th.
Born in New York City and raised in California, Ann received a BFA in Photography from Art Center College of Design. She worked as an award-winning advertising and editorial photographer for over a decade and then received an MFA from Claremont Graduate University. Ann has been the Chair of the Art and Photography Department at Long Beach City College, where she will return this fall.
Her photographs have been included in a large number of solo and group exhibitions in the western United States. She has also served as curator and organizer of photo-related events. Her work has been featured in numerous publications and Balcony Press released Austin Val Verde: Impressions of a Montecito Masterpiece, a monograph of the Val Verde project.
The Razor’s Edge
This body of work is dedicated to exploring the essential characteristics of change. I wanted to make images about the real challenges we face in everyday life. Each morning we wake up and think of our world as a known quantity. We build a vision in our mind of what our life is, and will be, but the truth is life is more about change, and making peace with that idea is what this series of constructed images seeks to explore. With each image I’m pushing into the feelings that we experience when life changes radically. Fear, happiness, confusion, insight, joy…all of these are on the path we are often forced to take.
While my first inspirations were based on my own experiences, I’ve worked to go beyond the specifics through the use of archetypal elements such as water, nature and the occasional human character. At the core of each image is also an exploration of the strong push and pull of longing: whether it’s the longing to find a safe place, or even to feel that we are grounded in some manner.
Inspired by a love of surrealist painters, such as Magritte, these images often come to me through meditation, dreams, memories and intuitive explorations. My titles are there as guides, rather than explanation, to keep the possibilities open for the viewer. I’ve chosen to print them on matte paper to further their illustration quality.