Review Santa Fe: Birthe Piontek: Lying Still
Birthe Piontek is a gifted photographer, able to interpret cultures and behaviors into rich narratives. Her portraits reveal secrets and draw us in (portrait from Sub Rosa below). Birthe is mining new territory with the project she brought to Review Santa Fe. Lying Still is project that examines self through a series of “self portraits and still lifes, each dealing with notions of mortality, sexuality, intimacy, roles and relationships and the change within them.” This time looking inward, her images are arresting, tinged with humor and are metaphors for the human experience.Birthe Piontek is a fine art photographer based in Vancouver BC, Canada. Originally from Germany, she moved to Canada in 2005 after receiving her MFA from the University of Essen in Communication Design and Photography. Birthe describes her photography as an exploration of the individual and is interested in the concept of Self. Her main focus is portrait photography but she also utilizes other art forms like installation and sculpture to investigate the essence of portraiture and to what degree identity can be visualized.
Her work has been exhibited internationally, in both solo and group shows, and is featured in many private and public collections such as the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago and the Museum of Applied Arts in Gera, Germany. Birthe’s project The Idea of North won the Critical Mass Book Award 2009, and was published as a monograph in 2011. She was recently nominated for the AIMIA AGO Award, and her project Mimesis was selected for this year’s Fashion & Photography Festival in Hyeres, France.
For the project Lying Still, I am using self portraits to explore and illustrate our approaches to and experiences of individuation and change.
Lying Still started out as a visual diary, capturing a personal journey through sickness. But soon, I realized I was also telling other stories. I noticed how my body had changed since I was younger. How my body would keep changing, and wouldn’t last forever. How becoming a woman comes with the price of aging. And as I focused on these forces that lie beyond our control, I began to explore the concept of internal change, and our approaches to what happens in life.
The project consists of self portraits and still lifes, each dealing with notions of mortality, sexuality, intimacy, roles and relationships and the change within them.
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